Punitive Damages

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DEFINITION of 'Punitive Damages'

Legal recompense that is levied as punishment for a wrong or offense committed by the payor. Punitive damages are awarded by a court of law in a lawsuit. They are often required in order to make up for a perceived shortfall in compensatory damages and are merely intended to indemnify the plaintiff.

BREAKING DOWN 'Punitive Damages'

Punitive damages are generally taxable to the recipient, while compensatory damages are not. Punitive damages are among the most difficult type of financial redress to acquire in court, as they generally require proof of substantial and intentional injuries on the part of the defendant.

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