A client who wins a civil case is almost always subject to payment for damages. These damages are assessed in a number of ways, but they can be typically broken into two categories. The first is the compensatory damages. These are damages that can be directly correlated. They usually include damages that are measured through receipts, records, and other substantiated evidence. Medical damages are the most common in a personal auto injury. Confirmed lost wages also are credited under compensatory. The vast majority of cases that favour an injured individual will pay compensation that is equal to the expenses they had to deal with (which also includes court costs).
The other type of damage is a lot more difficult to qualify, and that is where controversy begins. A punitive damage issue in Virginia appears when damages are not easily qualified. This could include emotional pains of an incident, mental trauma, public and social stigmatization, blasphemy, and other considerations. Punitive damages are often applied when the opposing party is a large company, and the damages are substantial enough to justify a proper change in action from the company. The amount needs to be high enough to force the company to review how they acted, and to change its behaviour accordingly.
A number of years ago, federal legislation placed a cap on punitive damages. The idea was to restrict superfluous court cases where individuals were suing for millions of dollars. It was effective, to an extent. Some very bizarre and disappointing cases eventually hurt families. For example, two children were horribly injured in an accident. They were damaged to the point where they needed to rely on their parents for life. Many would agree that the $250,000 cap is unreasonable, given their situation. The medical and daycare costs of caring for two mentally-challenged children are staggering. $250,000 may last a few years, at the most. This may have been a cause for a major punitive damage issue in Virginia. Quality lawyers hope to properly qualify punitive damages as they relate to the specific case. The world is too vast and each case is too specific to be limited in potential punitive damages.
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