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If negligence is proven in a personal injury case, can punitive damages be awarded?

Punitive, or exemplary, damages are almost nonexistent in negligence cases, which involve carelessness rather than wanton or intentionally tortious behavior. 

In cases that involve the latter two types of behavior, punitive damages are meant to punish the tortfeasor. Applicable examples would include cases of fraud or intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Punitive damages may, however, occasionally be used in cases involving gross negligence, which is carelessness that surpasses ordinary, reasonable care standards and comes close to willful and wanton misconduct. In circumstances where negligence is deemed sufficiently excessive, a court may permit punitive damages to be awarded to the injured party.

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The highly competent lawyers at Petrillo and Goldberg represent clients with personal injury claims, workers compensation claims, slip-and-fall cases and automobile accident victims. We work for you, and take our job of getting the best possible results for you seriously.

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