In some cases, a judge will order that the defendant must pay the plaintiff punitive damages because they intentionally harmed someone or acted in a very reckless manner. Sometimes called “exemplary damages,” the intention is to further punish the defendant and make an example of them. Punitive damages are rarely awarded. However, in a wrongful death case they’re certainly possible. For example, if the defendant intentionally murdered your loved one, you may wish to pursue punitive damages in addition to other damages. A wrongful death lawyer in Des Moines IA from Johnston | Martineau, PLLP can advise you as to whether or not punitive damages might apply in your case.
The Realities of Receiving Punitive Damages
Most of the time, punitive damages are only awarded in tort cases. An example of a tort case is a personal injury or wrongful death case. In the latter scenario, an assault that resulted in death is considered an intentional torts case. As an experienced Des Moines wrongful death lawyer can tell you:
- Large punitive damages payouts are rare. Those are the ones that make the headlines but in reality, only about two percent of torts cases result in punitive damage awards and seldom are they for more than $50,000 each. When consulting with a wrongful death lawyer Des Moines IA families turn to in similar circumstances, he or she can determine an appropriate amount to submit to the court.
- In some states, punitive damages must be calculated as per the state’s instructions and formula which is intended to limit the amount of punitive damages that are awarded.
- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that punitive damages awarded in a case must be deemed reasonable. This is up for interpretation but generally, if the amount awarded surpasses a ratio of 4:1 of punitive damages to actual damages, it risks getting overruled by the court. A wrongful death lawyer Des Moines IA victims and their loved ones rely on from our firm can sit down with you and identify all eligible damages.
- Though several states have tried to limit the amount of punitive damages that can be awarded in a single case, this has been ruled unconstitutional.
A Wrongful Death Lawyer Des Moines IA Community Members Trust
In your time of grief, making big decisions can be extraordinarily difficult. We understand that. Allow us to help you with this painful loss by providing compassionate legal guidance and aggressive representation. Request a free case review today. Call Johnston | Martineau, PLLP at (515) 493-4878 to consult a wrongful death lawyer Des Moines IA respects.