Punitive Damages in New Jersey| What to Know

When it comes to personal injury claims, not all defendants are equal. Some injuries occur due to negligence, while others occur due to ill-will. For example, forgetting to shovel the sidewalk in front of your house may be negligent, but injuring someone because you were texting and driving is egregious. The difference between these two types of accidents may mean the defendant will have to pay punitive damages. But what are punitive damages? When are they recovered? Read on to learn more about punitive damages in New Jersey.

What Are Punitive Damages?

If you are injured due to the negligence of another party, you are likely entitled to compensation. This compensation will be provided to help alleviate the burdens you are facing as a result of your injury. For example, you may need help covering hospital bills, and you may also deserve compensation for things like pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. In some cases, you may also be awarded punitive damages. This form of compensation is not meant to reward the injured party, but rather to punish the negligent party.

When Are Punitive Damages Awarded?

In order to recover punitive damages, you will have to prove more than just negligence. Personal injury cases are often difficult because it can be difficult to prove that your injury was a result of negligence. So, proving that there was ill-intent or malice involved can be even more difficult. In New Jersey, to recover these damages, you must prove that a defendant acted with complete disregard for the plaintiff’s safety or health. An example of this would be if you are injured by a drunk driver. Getting behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated is more than just negligent. In this case, the driver has chosen to drive, knowing that this could cause serious harm to others. Medical malpractice cases and wrongful death cases often involve punitive damages.

If you are injured due to more than just another party’s negligence and you believe the defendant should be charged punitive damages, contact our firm today. We are here to discuss your case and make sure you are awarded the compensation you deserve. We are here to act as your advocates and fight for you.


penStathis & Leonardis, LLC is an experienced personal injury law firm in Middlesex County, New Jersey that is committed to helping clients who have been hurt due to another party’s negligence. If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident or were injured on another person’s property, please do not hesitate to contact our firm today.

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