What are punitive damages?
Punitive damages are an amount of money designed to punish the defendant for misconduct that was particularly bad. Most medical malpractice cases do not involve the possibility of punitive damages because the case only involves simple negligence and not intentional or gross misconduct. One of the few types of medical malpractice cases that may allow punitive damages are cases involving sexual misconduct by the doctor or nurse. Some states have caps on punitive damages and in some states all or part of the punitive damages are payable to the state rather than to the injured person.
In Georgia “Punitive damages may be awarded only in such tort actions in which it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant’s actions showed willful misconduct, malice, fraud, wantonness, oppression, or that entire want of care which would raise the presumption of conscious indifference to consequences.” O.C.G.A. section 51-12-5.1. “Punitive damages shall be awarded not as compensation to a plaintiff but solely to punish, penalize, or deter a defendant.” O.C.G.A. section 51-12-5.
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This site contains only general information and is not intended to constitute specific legal advice or establish an attorney/client relationship. Malpractice laws are constantly changing. If you think you may have a malpractice case you should promptly contact a lawyer experienced in handling malpractice cases.
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