Damages that Punish the Wrongdoer: Punitive Damages in Virginia by Michael Strong mstrong@stronglawfirm.com Connect with me

Senior Attorney, Strong Law Firm

Damages that Punish the Wrongdoer: Punitive Damages in Virginia


If you are involved in an accident or if you are considering a lawsuit because of someone else’s negligence, punitive damages is a concept you need to understand. This could make a big difference in the ability to recover in your case. The standard for punitive damages can be very difficult to show. An attorney best determines punitive damages. Contact the Strong Law Firm today for a FREE consultation and evaluation of your claim. We have helped people for decades recover for their injuries. You deserve an experienced look at your case.


By statute, punitive damages in Virginia are capped at $350,000. This is the maximum amount you can recover for this one type of damages. You can still recover additional monies if the jury finds it justifiable or if your case is settled. Settling a case could get recovery for your injuries faster.


Punitive damages (also known as exemplary damages) are awarded on two grounds:


  1. to punish the defendant for his actions and
  2. to deter other from engaging in the same conduct.


When the plaintiff is awarded punitive damages, they are not meant to compensate you for your injuries. This type of recovery is used to discourage the activity that led to your injuries. It is a punishment of sorts to the wrongdoer. The policy aspect is to discourage other wrongdoers of committing a similar wrongdoing. The idea is to place a value on what the injuries are worth in the eyes of society to stop future incidents. Punitive damages are not highly favored in Virginia and are awarded only in very limited circumstances.


A defendant’s conduct must be reckless or willful and wanton, showing a conscious disregard for the rights of others. This is often referred to by judges as a “malice” standard. In laymen’s terms this means the conduct must show a knowledge and consciousness that injury is likely to result from the act. This can be a difficult component to prove but with the correct pieces of evidence punitive damages may be rewarded. Further, punitive damages may be awarded only if the plaintiff obtains compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are the only way to have a court consider punitive damages as additional damages for your case.


Because punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant, they may be much larger than a compensatory damage award.  The amount of punitive damages a defendant should have to pay should vary according to her financial circumstances. As general rule punitive damages do not exceed nine times the amount of compensatory damages or the $350,000 dollar cap whichever is lower. This type of understanding is commonplace to an experienced personal injury attorney and there are many other factors to consider in calculating what your case is worth. We understand that you have been through a lot since your accident and we can help get the ball rolling on your case.


For more information about your case and the types of compensation you might be able to recover, contact the Strong Law Firm today for more information. We look forward to hearing from you.


THE STRONG LAW FIRM has substantial experience in figuring out complex accident claims to find the responsible party to pursue your right to compensation for your injuries following a traffic accident injury.Give us a call to review your traffic accident dilemma.We can make quick work of locating the responsible parties to recover the most you are entitled to receive against the driver and employer who caused the accident, to ensure you get the financial compensation you need to fully recover from your accident related injuries.


THE STRONG LAW FIRM handles car accidents, truck accidents and severe collision injury claims throughout Northern Virginia, Fairfax, Falls Church, Arlington, Alexandria, Annandale, Ashburn, Sterling, Reston, McLean, Manassas, Woodbridge, and Loudoun County.



CALL THE STRONG LAW FIRM AT 703-350-4241 today.