What Does The Term "Punitive Damages" Mean for Personal Injury Claims?

The main types of damages that we talk about when it comes to personal injury claims are "Economic Damages" and "Non-Economic Damages." These are the most relevant types of damages that we deal with when it comes to cases that go to trial in Washington state because "Punitive Damages" are not allowed in our state. 

The term "Punitive Damages" refers to a special kind of monetary award that goes beyond what is required to make the plaintiff or victim whole again. In other words, a jury verdict that involves punitive damages is typically significantly higher than one might expect to be adequate compensation for the plaintiff. 

Punitive damages, also called exemplary damages, are meant to serve as punishment to the responsible party. Juries often award punitive damages involving extreme examples of negligence, fraud, or a combination of other types of egregious conduct.