Punitive Damages in Wisconsin Personal Injury Cases

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on October 27, 2017 in Personal Injury
Updated on February 24, 2022

courthouse stepsMost forms of compensation in a personal injury lawsuit are intended to compensate you for damages you suffered because of your injuries, such as medical expenses and lost income. However, you may also be entitled to punitive damages. These damages are not meant to compensate you but punish the at-fault party if his or her actions were intentional or particularly egregious. 

The Milwaukee personal injury attorneys at Pitman, Kalkhoff, Sicula & Dentice are experienced in pursuing maximum recovery for injury victims, including seeking punitive damages when possible. We can carefully analyze your case to determine if the grounds for punitive damages are present and discuss this information with you during a free consultation.

When Are Punitive Damages Awarded?

Punitive damages are different than other types of damages that typically try to compensate the victim for the damages he or she has suffered to try to make him or her whole again. Punitive damages are designed to punish the wrongdoer and serve as a deterrent to try to prevent others from doing something similar in the future.

Punitive damages are not awarded in every serious personal injury case or in every wrongful death case. Instead, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has reserved these damages only for those cases in which the victim and his or her attorney can show that the defendant intended to cause harm or acted in a way that he or she knew would reasonably cause injury.

Determining the Amount of Punitive Damages

The judge or jury determines whether or not to award punitive damages independent of the decision regarding liability and other types of damages. When determining how much to award, the court considers such factors as:

  • The grievousness of the defendant’s actions
  • The degree of malicious intent
  • The potential damage that could have been caused by the defendant’s actions
  • The amount of economic damages the victim suffered
  • The amount of punitive damages awarded in similar cases
  • The ability of the defendant to pay the damages

The victim and his or her attorney must submit evidence of the defendant’s wrongdoing. They may also submit evidence of the defendant’s level of wealth.

Punitive Damages Caps

Many states have a cap on the amount of punitive damages they permit a jury to award. Wisconsin law caps the maximum amount that a personal injury victim can receive from a punitive damages award to $200,000 or twice the amount of compensatory damages, whichever is greater. However, if the accident was caused by drunk driving, this cap does not apply. 

Schedule a Confidential Consultation Today

Wisconsin law holds plaintiffs to a high burden before they can receive punitive damages. Establishing that you are entitled to punitive damages can be very difficult without the help of an experienced legal advocate by your side.

For nearly 20 years, the personal injury attorneys at PKSD have represented injury victims and handled cases in which punitive damages were awarded. Our attorneys are ready to help and are committed to helping others avoid suffering the same way you did.

We can discuss your legal options during a free, no-obligation consultation. We only get paid when we secure an award on your behalf.

Call 877-877-2228 to get started on your claim today.

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