Continuing from Punitive Damages in Personal Injury Lawsuits (Part 1), the following provides some addition information regarding punitive or exemplary damages that can be awarded by judges or juries when a plaintiff has won his personal injury case. While the first part of this blog focused on defining what punitive damages are (as opposed to compensatory damages), here, we will take a closer look at the Missouri state statutes that govern punitive damages in personal injury lawsuits.
Missouri Laws Regarding Punitive Damages
According to Missouri Revised Statutes Section 510.265, the following are the state’s laws regarding punitive damages:
- Punitive damages cannot exceed $500,000 or five times (5x) the amount of the compensatory damages awarded to the plaintiff in a case (whichever is greater).
- These monetary limits do not apply in cases when the state of Missouri is the plaintiff in the case and/or the defendant in the case has pled guilty to (or is convicted of) a felony in a criminal case (associated with the act that is also the subject of the civil case).
- The state of Missouri is entitled to receive half of any punitive damages awarded in a case.
- A judge or jury is allowed to take a defendant’s net worth into consideration when deciding the amount of punitive damages to award in a case.
- The punitive damages portion of a case can be tried separate from the civil case.
It’s important to point out that, regardless of the state in which a case is tried, the threat of punitive damages can be very powerful leverage in negotiation talks when trying to get defendants to make reasonable settlement offers in a case.
For specific Illinois laws regarding punitive damages in that state, look for our upcoming third installment of this blog.
St. Louis Personal Injury Lawyers
If you have sustained any type of personal injury and believe that another person’s or party’s negligence may have caused the injury, contact the St. Louis personal injury lawyers at Brown & Brown Attorneys at Law. We have a long-standing commitment to serving our clients, and we are experienced at aggressively defending our clients’ rights in any legal setting. Our goal is to preserve and promote the rights and welfare of individuals and families who have suffered injuries and losses and/or who need help navigating the complexities of the court system.
Since 1993, our lawyers have been successfully representing our clients in various areas of personal injury litigation, including motor vehicle accident lawsuits, insurance bad faith cases, dangerous drug lawsuits and catastrophic injury cases. Our unwavering dedication to the pursuit of justice in every case we handle means that we will work relentlessly to help our clients achieve the best possible outcomes to their cases. One of our primary goals is to help accident victims secure the maximum possible compensation for their injuries and losses so they can focus on their recovery and moving on with their lives.