Punitive Damages Help Crime Victims and Discourage Crime

The Law and You

This segment of The Law and You features personal injury trial lawyer Don Corson.


JOEL: This is Joel Block for The Law and You with Eugene attorney Don Corson. Don, sometimes we hear about punitive damages in lawsuits. What exactly are punitive damages?

DON: Joel, punitive damages are to punish a person or corporation for exceptional misconduct. Punitive damages are not for merely negligent or careless behavior, but for things like intentional harm, or where a company does something with reckless disregard for the health and safety of the public. The primary purpose of punitive damages it to deter that kind of extraordinary misconduct. Although punitive damages are rare in practice, here in Oregon, 60% of any punitive damages goes to help victims and survivors of crimes. So, not only do punitive damages help make us all safer, they directly benefit people that need the help.

JOEL: Thanks, Don. For more information about how punitive damages promote safety and help crime victims, visit CorsonJohnsonLaw.com. The Law & You is a community service and does not replace the advice of an attorney.

The Corson & Johnson Law Firm, a Eugene, Oregon personal injury trial law firm, produces and distributes The Law and You as a continuing public service to help families and consumers answer questions about our legal system and how it works for them. The Law and You spots are aired on KKNU, KMGE, KEUG, and KODZ in Eugene, Oregon. If you have suggestions of legal questions or topics you would like addressed by The Law and You, please contact us.