In a civil lawsuit, there are two sides of the trial; the plaintiff who is the victim of the crime or accident at hand and the defendant who is being charged for committing the crime. The main purpose of the entire proceeding is to make sure that the plaintiff is compensated for the injury or loss that the crime has done to them and that the defendant is brought to the justice that they deserve.
In the legal proceeding of a lawsuit, monetary compensation is almost always awarded to the plaintiff in order to make up for their losses and it almost always goes beyond the amount that was incurred in the plaintiff’s losses. The extra money is usually awarded to the victim to further punish the wrong doer and so that the plaintiff is satisfied for their troubles. However, in certain proceedings the monetary reward is sometimes unfair to the defendant. Punitive damages are one of such rewards.
What is punitive damage, you ask? Punitive Damages are rewarded to the plaintiff not just as and additional compensation for their losses but to further punish the acts of the wrongdoer. These are also known as exemplary damages for this very reason; that the set a precedent to the society. Though in certain cases, these damages should be awarded because of the severity of the wrongdoer’s transgressions against the plaintiff.
Sometimes the misconduct or transgression of the defendant are so extreme that they need to be made an example of like that but unless the crime wasn’t very extreme, it makes no sense to award punitive damages to the plaintiff. However, the decision to reward these rests completely with the trial of the case, with some influence from the jury present.