Definition - What does Punitive Damages mean?
Punitive damages are damages imposed or levied on a defendant in a court case, and are intended as a form of punishment. The aim of awarding punitive damages to the party filing the lawsuit (plaintiff) is to deter the defendant and other such individuals from committing a similar act in the future.
Justipedia explains Punitive Damages
Punitive damages can be considered monetary punishment, and are levied against a defendant to set an example and discourage the public from engaging in similar conduct. In a successful lawsuit, a plaintiff is typically awarded compensatory damages for loss or injury. However, these may not be adequate, and punitive damages may also be included in the verdict to make up for the shortfall. In order for punitive damages to be awarded, intentional harm on the part of the defendant must be proved by evidence. In contrast to compensatory damages, punitive damages are taxable.