Punitive Damages Punish Malicious Conduct

Punitive damages are awarded to punish the defendant and discourage the type of conduct in which the defendant engaged. While not common, punitive damages are issued when a defendant has acted with more than mere negligence. To justify punitive damages, a defendant must have acted with intentional or malicious conduct that shocks the conscience. Punitive damages can reach into the millions of dollars depending on the severity and impact of the improper conduct.