Straight talk about punitive damages.Lawyer jokes and uninformed statements bashing the civil justice system have dogged plaintiff attorneys through many a golf game, PTA PTA or parent-teacher association: see parent education. meeting, or dinner party. When a tort "reform" myth rears its head, you need to respond with the facts.
Q: Punitive damages Monetary compensation awarded to an injured party that goes beyond that which is necessary to compensate the individual for losses and that is intended to punish the wrongdoer. seem to be out of control. Companies say they can go out of business because these jury awards are so unpredictable. Why shouldn't we do away with punitive damages or at least put a reasonable limit on them?
A: Punitive damages are just what the term implies--punishment for egregious misconduct, near-criminal behavior.
Such punishment is rare, because it is so difficult to prove malicious intent. But it is important that our legal system have the flexibility to punish a corporation like Ford when it continues to sell a car, as it did the Pinto, knowing it would explode on rear impact and incinerate in·cin·er·ate
v. in·cin·er·at·ed, in·cin·er·at·ing, in·cin·er·ates
To cause to burn to ashes.
To burn completely. its occupants.
You can't put a corporation in prison. There has to be a way to penalize pe·nal·ize
tr.v. pe·nal·ized, pe·nal·iz·ing, pe·nal·iz·es
1. To subject to a penalty, especially for infringement of a law or official regulation. See Synonyms at punish.
2. the wrongdoing wrong·do·er
One who does wrong, especially morally or ethically.
wrongdo when a company puts profits over safety and jeopardizes the lives of our families. That's why punitive damages are important.
These companies don't want to be punished at all when they do harm. But if they can't do away with punitive damages, they want the punishment to be predictable--that means limited--so they can build it into their cost of doing business. In other words Adv. 1. in other words - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
put differently , they want all their customers, including those they injure, to pay for their intentional misconduct.
Another reason they don't like punitive damages is that their insurance coverage won't pay the bills. So the money comes out of the company's bottom line. If you went out and intentionally sideswiped the cars parked on your street, your auto insurance wouldn't protect you, and it shouldn't. Same thing.