When GA courts allow punitive damages and what the award cap

On Behalf of | Dec 13, 2021 | Uncategorized |

The court awards any additional damages due to aggravating circumstances in Moultrie, Georgia. Punitive damages are the same as vindictive damages and exemplary damages. Punitive damages are to punish, deter or penalize a defendant, but there are maximums.

Reasons for punitive damages

Courts hand out punitive damages more often when there are catastrophic injuries from the defendant’s tort actions. Common tort actions include wreckless endangerment or deliberate harm of another. Evidence of tort action that needs a penalty includes malice, oppression, fraud and willful misconduct. Punitive damages are never a reward for the plaintiff but a punishment for the defendant.

Process for punitive damages

The court looks at the initial evidence to determine punitive damages for catastrophic injuries. Extra damages have to be for a specific complaint in the case. If the evidence supports punitive damages, it will be in the verdict with the supporting evidence. If the defendant needs punitive damages, the trial will recommence. The court looks over the evidence relevant to the decision. The court decides the best amount according to the law.

Punitive award cap

Product liability tort actions don’t have a cap on punitive damages. A court can issue one punitive damages reward to a defendant. If a defendant causes multiple actions that result in product liability, the court can only issue punitive damages once.

Punitive damages are up to 75% of the original total. The total includes any litigation costs and attorney fees the judge decides. Intent to cause harm with drugs and alcohol is under product liability. Punitive damages go to the state treasurer. The state acts as the creditor for the punitive damages, and the court enforces the payment from the initial case. The clerk has 60 days to hand the punitive damages to the state treasurer.

The court offers punitive damages with enough evidence. There isn’t an award cap for damages due to product liability or catastrophic injuries from drugs or alcohol. Any tort action that doesn’t involve those specific actions has a $250,000 punitive damages cap.