Opinions and Legal Insights

Punitive Damages In Las Vegas Personal Injury Cases

Punitive Damages In Las Vegas Personal Injury Cases

Punitive Damages in Las Vegas Personal Injury Cases

Punitive Damages In Las Vegas Personal Injury Cases

Many people have heard the term “punitive damages” and want to know how it applies to their personal injury or car accident claim in Las Vegas. “Punitive damages” is an amount that is awarded by a jury to punish a party in a civil lawsuit. This term is also sometimes called “exemplary damages,” as the award is intended to set an example. Punitive or exemplary damages is usually contrasted with compensatory damages, which are intended to make an accident victim whole again. Compensatory damages usually include medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and lost enjoyment of life.

Punitive damages cannot be awarded in most cases. For a personal injury plaintiff to even be able a jury for punitive damages, the plaintiff must show that the defendant was more than negligent. Negligence generally means careless. In other words, to be able to ask for punitive damages, a plaintiff must show that a defendant was more than careless. In Nevada, usually, this means showing that a defendant acted intentionally, recklessly, or with intent to do harm. In car accident cases, punitive damages usually do not apply but may apply in drunk driving cases. It should also apply to cases where a defendant was texting and driving.

In the McDonald’s coffee cup case that a lot of people seem to know about, the biggest portion of the jury’s award was the punitive damages. The jury in that case awarded $2.7 million against McDonalds. The large jury award in the case upset many people. Those people tend to refer to the McDonald’s case as an example of a frivolous lawsuit where the accident victim became rich. However, the purpose of that $2.7 million award was to punish McDonalds. The plaintiff’s attorney in that case showed that McDonalds served their coffee at temperatures higher than other restaurants. They also showed that, in a decade, McDonalds received about 700 complaints of people suffering burns from their coffee. In awarding punitive damages against McDonalds, the jury believed that McDonalds needed to be punished for their policy and deterred from continuing to follow this policy.

Nevada Law On Punitive Damages

In Nevada, the legislature enacted laws that governs when punitive damages can be awarded. Those laws can be found in Chapter 42 of the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS). Under NRS § 42.005, a jury may award punitive damages against a defendant who “has been guilty of oppression, fraud or malice, express or implied.” NRS § 42.001 defines these terms as follows:

NRS § 42.001. Definitions; exceptions. As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires and except as otherwise provided in subsection 5 of NRS 42.005:

      1.  “Conscious disregard” means the knowledge of the probable harmful consequences of a wrongful act and a willful and deliberate failure to act to avoid those consequences.

      2.  “Fraud” means an intentional misrepresentation, deception or concealment of a material fact known to the person with the intent to deprive another person of his or her rights or property or to otherwise injure another person.

      3.  “Malice, express or implied” means conduct which is intended to injure a person or despicable conduct which is engaged in with a conscious disregard of the rights or safety of others.

      4.  “Oppression” means despicable conduct that subjects a person to cruel and unjust hardship with conscious disregard of the rights of the person.

The Nevada legislature also limited how much punitive damages can be awarded in most cases. Subsection (1) of NRS § 42.005 limits the amount of punitive damage awards as follows:

1.  Except as otherwise provided in NRS § 42.007, in an action for the breach of an obligation not arising from contract, where it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant has been guilty of oppression, fraud or malice, express or implied, the plaintiff, in addition to the compensatory damages, may recover damages for the sake of example and by way of punishing the defendant. Except as otherwise provided in this section or by specific statute, an award of exemplary or punitive damages made pursuant to this section may not exceed:

      (a) Three times the amount of compensatory damages awarded to the plaintiff if the amount of compensatory damages is $100,000 or more; or

      (b) Three hundred thousand dollars if the amount of compensatory damages awarded to the plaintiff is less than $100,000.

The above limitation on punitive damages do not apply to product defect or product liability cases and to insurance bad faith cases, amongst others. See NRS § 42.005(2).

Examples of Punitive Damage Awards in Nevada

In a recent Las Vegas medical malpractice case, a jury assessed $8 million in punitive damages against a local hand surgeon. The jury found that the hand surgeon had committed fraud. The plaintiff, a U.S. Air Force pilot, claimed that the surgeon performed a procedure that was not the standard of care. In fact, the plaintiff presented expert testimony that no other hand surgeon ever performed or would have performed the same procedure. The plaintiff also argued that the surgeon performed the procedure in order to guarantee that the plaintiff will require future procedures, for which the surgeon can financially benefit.

In a product liability lawsuit, plaintiffs alleged that a drug manufacturer sold hormone replacement therapy drugs that increased the risk of getting breast cancer and failed to adequately warn its customers. The jury found that the defendant guilty of malice or fraud, and a separate trial was held on the question of how much the punitive damage award should be. Following that separate trial, the jury awarded a total of $99 million in punitive damages against the defendant. See Wyeth v. Rowatt, 126 Nev. 446, 244 P.3d 765 (Nev. 2010).

 

If you or a loved one have been injured and want to know if punitive damages apply to your personal injury case, speak to a Las Vegas personal injury and car accident attorney at D.R. Patti & Associates. Our experienced personal injury attorneys have dealt with punitive damages on many occasions and can answer your questions. Call 702-331-3391 for a free case consultation.



Share on facebook


Share on twitter


Share on linkedin

Blog Categories


Our Google Reviews

I am so grateful for my attorney Marc Naron for helping me get amazing medical care after my car accident. The whole team was attentive, compassionate and well organized to handle the whole process with the insurance claims. Throughout the lengthy process, my questions and concerns were answered promptly and respectfully. I highly recommend Marc Naron!
Dana Marler
Dana Marler
03:42 22 Aug 20
I love their customer service and they don’t play about your case, they take care of you. My accident happened at the end of April and I’m already getting my settlement. Thank you D.R Patti & associates.
Angelina Wiley
Angelina Wiley
21:58 14 Aug 20
Really professional experience…my attorney Marc took care of my rental car, therapy, and medical bills after an accident. After 8 months my case was closed couldn’t be more satisfied.
matthew hawkins
matthew hawkins
18:36 14 Aug 20
I was in a very bad hit and ran auto accident I reached out to D.R Patti & Associates and they helped me every step of the way. The entire staff was knowledgeable so I was never left wondering whats next. The team of Attorneys help me locate the best medical professionals to assist me with my medical needs. Furthermore the team of Attorneys informed me of the entire process and prepared me on what to expect , which I loved. D.R Patti & Associates negotiated the best recovery for me and I’m elated. D.R Patti & Associates helped me receive 5 hundred thousand dollars ($500,000.00) I am still in shock on what all they have done for me. I will continue to recommend D.R Patti & Associates to all my family and friends they are the best.
Nawana Gray
Nawana Gray
18:09 14 Aug 20
Phenomenal experience from the whole office and Jazmine as well as Marc my lawyer who keep me updated and made sure I understood everything that was going on in my case
Anthony Thomas
Anthony Thomas
20:49 12 Aug 20
Excellent Service. Thank you so much. Everything I expected was accomplished. Jazmine Perez was amazing. Everytime I called she greeted me very kindly. I appreciate it all the work that was done for my case.
Alexander Rojas
Alexander Rojas
18:12 31 Jul 20
Me ayudaron mucho es el 2do casó que me llevan y estoy súper agradecida y contenta con el servicio y la atención que me dieron
Rebecca López
Rebecca López
20:22 30 Jul 20
D R Patti & Associates was an excellent Law Form . One of the paralegal’s Jazmine Perez was very helpful since the first day she handled my case. She always made sure I was comfortable with the doctors I was seeing . The attorney Marc Naron helped me throughout the case and gave me great advise. Thank you Jazmine Perez for always checking up on me .
angel Lisa
angel Lisa
22:59 06 Jul 20
Jasmine is wonderful. She handled all the details for my son’s settlement. I am his Power of Attorney and they made it easy to communicate and today pickup his settlement check. I would highly recommend them.
Alan Dubester
Alan Dubester
22:09 02 Jul 20
Yo obtube los servicios de los abogadis d.r.patti y asociados y estoy muy conforme con el servicio que resivi de ellos y su personal muy responsable y amable en especial con una de ellas de nombre jazmine perez siempre dispuesta a escuchar y ayudar en todo lo posible. Gracias por sus servicion abogados d.r. patti y associados😉
Yolanda Macias
Yolanda Macias
23:13 30 May 20
I was totally pleased with the quality of service from D.R. Patti and Associates. Maria and Jasmine were so personable. If there were questions, they were very quick with the answers. They worked tirelessly on my behalf. I highly recommend them. A plus rating.
Rosetta Dowell
Rosetta Dowell
16:18 22 May 20
When I contacted D.R Patti & Associates I was taken care of beyond my wildest expectations. They arranged for transportation to get me to all my medical appointments. They were thorough in compiling all my records from Doctors, Physical Therapist, and Medical tests. They were able to tap into all possible sources of money. Whenever I called Maria Estanislao promptly return my phone call. It was great working with them during the time that they were handling the case. I was extremely pleased with their performance. There was no trial and the settlement was very fair. If you need a lawyer in a personal injury case I highly recommend D.R. Patti and AssociatesNancy Robey
Robert Robey
Robert Robey
00:23 21 May 20
The most amazing lawyers I have ever had besides the chiropractor visits and doctor visits they did everything else I didn’t have to worry about anything. Also made everything super easy specially with my crazy work schedule. They always kept in touch to see how I was doing treated me like family, one of the associates even came to my house to get me started with my case ! I am VERY satisfied !
Frida Gastelum
Frida Gastelum
18:21 02 May 20
I been working with Dr Patti and Associates for over a year now on my case out of all the attorneys i have worked with in Las Vegas i have had my satisfaction with this law firm in customer service and knowledgeable staff,they rock! they worked with me with money that i needed to take care of bills while i was injured you guys are awesome keep up the good work!
Kino Phetsomphou
Kino Phetsomphou
19:16 31 Mar 20
I been working with Dr Patti and Associates for over a year now on my case out of all the attorneys i have worked with in Las Vegas i have had my satisfaction with this law firm in customer service and knowledgeable staff,they rock! they worked with me with money that i needed to take care of bills while i was injured you guys are awesome keep up the good work!
Kino Phetsomphou
Kino Phetsomphou
19:01 31 Mar 20
Susan Howard
Susan Howard
06:09 18 Mar 20
Highly recommend! I was rear ended back in September (we’re all okay!) As soon as I hired D.R. Patti & Associates the stress of handling insurance the right way was eased! They do all the work for you and even were able to text me which for me, is amazing since I’m always on the go and respond better that way! They always checked up on me to see how I was feeling and never hesitated to answer any and all of my questions! Definitely hire them if you are in the unfortunate event of an accident.
Diana Mena
Diana Mena
20:54 27 Feb 20
I had a very great time with every workers in this company ,everyone was very friendly and responsible, i do really reccomend this place highly ,thank you very much for seeing my case just like yours ,i am very satisfied.
Berry Love
Berry Love
21:06 20 Feb 20
This was the first time I’ve been in a serious accident & I didn’t know what to do. After i was released from the hospital Marc & Jazmine came to my house to get the claim started, making it so convenient for me. They walked me through the process & Jazmine called me often just to check on me & my unborn child, also I was updated on the status of the claim frequently so I didn’t have to guess. The doctors and physical therapist that they recommended was great also. I definitely recommend them & I’ll be seeing them again if I need any help in the future!
Chillette Hall
Chillette Hall
23:26 20 Dec 19
Laura & Maria were great , they were super helpful and prompted on my case. I would definitely recommend D R Patti & Associates LLC .
Alan Diniz
Alan Diniz
22:11 20 Nov 19
D.R Patti & Associates was very helpful when i was in a car accedent and was able to get a decent settlement back very happy with there service definitely recommend them.
Jessica Norris
Jessica Norris
17:29 16 Nov 19
D.R. Patti & Associates did a wonderful job representing me they made sure all my needs were met. They really took care of me while waiting for my settlement.. they helped me with extra money to pay my rent. I will certainly recommend them to anyone who needs representation… thank you so much D.R& associates for everything.. a very special thank you to Jasmine and mark
Shelley Stewart
Shelley Stewart
18:40 11 Nov 19
I just wanted to thank each and every person at this law firm who worked on my case my case was not an easy case. And thank you so much laura for making me feel important. I will be sending everyone to you guys. Thank you.
Robin Kester
Robin Kester
23:05 04 Nov 19
Best lawyers ever
Phaedra Oliver
Phaedra Oliver
12:14 23 Oct 19
Very satisfied with the firm. Thank you Mark and Laura for all your hard work
Carlton Spraggins
Carlton Spraggins
17:38 21 Oct 19
I was referred by a friend of a friend. I was in a car crash with my 3 year old. Long story short, I was hit from behind causing me to hit the car in front. The lawyer and his paralegal Jazmine Perez came to my home two days later. I told them about the whole case…he decided to take my case. Told me to start physical therapy immediately along with my son. They explained that the therapy will go on the lien. They had my car taken to an auto mechanic..(Its still there) I then get a call after about 3 weeks later from the friend stating that he no longer wanted my case. No explanation from him. I called numerous times but cannot get a call back. I now owe the physical therapy location over $2,000, I have no vehicle..no employment and no representative. Definitely a mistake. I’m now in more debt because of them.
content/plugins/business-reviews-bundle/assets/img/google_avatar.png” data-src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/a-/AOh14Gi-JF-DRYTtctSls_CksBLwd7lllfOw2mVmDVAV=c0x00000000-cc-rp” class=”rplg-review-avatar rplg-blazy” alt=”Jasmine Jones-Anderson” width=”56″ height=”56″ title=”Jasmine Jones-Anderson” onerror=”if(this.src!=’http://vegaspifirm.com/wp-content/plugins/business-reviews-bundle/assets/img/google_avatar.png’)this.src=’http://vegaspifirm.com/wp-content/plugins/business-reviews-bundle/assets/img/google_avatar.png’;”>
Jasmine Jones-Anderson
21:11 28 Aug 19
alessandro martini
alessandro martini
23:11 24 Jul 19
Great service, and very professional. Greatest Law firm in Las Vegas by far. Thanks so much D.R. Patti & Associates
Elvonzo Cromwell
Elvonzo Cromwell
21:13 18 Jun 19
We all know searching for a lawyer to represent us can be a task but it also can be very rewarding, My personal experience with DR Patty and associates, Was an awesome experience.My attorney Marc Naron And his paralegal Lani Domenico Represented me with all of their attorney knowledge, my case was long and lengthy and I can honestly say very annoying due to The person or persons that I was in litigation with ,the help of Mr. Naron & Ms. Domenico… I felt that there was hope for me after all. My case was a little complicated due to the fact that I’m In another workman’s comp case without any hesitation Mr. Naron Took my case and I am so very grateful of the outcome of the whole situation which was very rewarding. With Retrospect I would definitely Check them out if you have a case that you need help with give them a call you will be surprised at how wonderful that firm really is I want to personally thank them for all they’ve done for me without him I wouldn’t have never won my case, So thank you… Miss Owens.
Sharon Owens
Sharon Owens
22:44 12 Jun 19
I’m really happy with everyone that helped with my case. Every single person I came in contact with was so nice and genuinely helpful. Each time I met with the attorney, he made me feel really comfortable and gave me all of the possible information. Thank you everyone!!
Cynthia Lourido
Cynthia Lourido
21:35 23 May 19
Went here due to unforeseen circumstances with my other Attorney. The staff is very friendly and professional. They keep in contact with you informing you what’s going on, you don’t have to call for updates as they will contact you. Overall, this was a great experience and I highly recommend.
Keaton Darby
Keaton Darby
23:11 21 May 19
Thos office actually cares especially Lan8 they ate out standing glad i drop Glen Learner
Robert Diaz
Robert Diaz
19:07 16 May 19
I am really very grateful for the service they gave me, they took my case after presenting problems with my previous lawyer and the result of the process was quick and very satisfactory for me. Additionally I must thank Jazmín who gave me excellent advice and always kept in touch with me to inform me of the progress of my case.
LUIS DARIO QUIAZUA GONZALEZ
LUIS DARIO QUIAZUA GONZALEZ
08:02 08 May 19
I had a good experience with D R Patti and Associates. All the staff I worked with throughout the process were very friendly and was always there to answer any questions or concerns I had. Definitely would recommend them!!
Markina Amore
Markina Amore
18:45 23 Apr 19
Their the best with handling their clients ! Treated me and my cousin like family always .
Dagmawy Tewodros
Dagmawy Tewodros
20:49 16 Apr 19
Best law firm in Las Vegas really good customer service
Yosief Amare
Yosief Amare
23:09 04 Apr 19
5 Star!! Cynthia and the rest of the team are amazing
Jason Gerry
Jason Gerry
23:07 04 Apr 19
Cynthia is amazing. love the law firm that treated me with all the respect and kindness. highly recommend
samir mohamed
samir mohamed
23:03 04 Apr 19
The Entire Team Took Really Great Care Of Me.Definitely Dont Hesitate To Give Them A Call
Jay Berg
Jay Berg
23:03 04 Apr 19
Cynthia is so amazing my experience was wonderful would recommend her to all my friends and family
Jazmin Tenaya
Jazmin Tenaya
22:57 04 Apr 19
Cynathia is so amazing at what she does . Highly recommend this law firm !!!
Jeff Geffrard
Jeff Geffrard
22:55 04 Apr 19
muy profecionaleslo recomiendo al %100
Morir por vivir
Morir por vivir
23:00 27 Mar 19
Cynthia Definitely Is The Best Paralegal I’ve Experienced With, Made Sure I Was Well Taken Care Of On Both Ends.
Ruuub G
Ruuub G
19:40 27 Mar 19
Great place easy access great service kept in good contact with me. Checked up regularly. Highly recommend
Seth Thongsavath
Seth Thongsavath
21:26 18 Mar 19
Got into a car accident and they were so very helpful. Everyone is super nice, positive & make sure to explain everything thoroughly. They seriously are working to do what’s best for you. Cynthia & Tim were awesome. They made everything so easy & I received back more than ever coveted. The level of service & dedication that they provide is amazing. You feel cared for!
Ashley Gee
Ashley Gee
01:06 08 Feb 19
Wasn’t sure how things worked due to that this was my first accident. So Cynthia & Violet explained to me how things work, very professional & everything else is very self explanatory. Tim was also the main one that explained to us how much goes to whom. So it pretty munched helped me a lot to know what goes to who & who gets what. The staff was very friendly also the front desk.
Gokuce Gaming
Gokuce Gaming
01:05 08 Feb 19
I would recommend Cinthya and D.R Patti & Associates , professional team and helped solve my case in a great timely manner!
Manny Salvatore
Manny Salvatore
00:35 31 Jan 19
Good service!
ivonne garcia
ivonne garcia
19:23 22 Dec 18
I would recommend D.R Patti & Associates , professional team and helped solve my case in a great timely manner!
Erick Mejia-Gutierrez
Erick Mejia-Gutierrez
02:04 02 Dec 18
Nabor Pounce
Nabor Pounce
22:49 03 Oct 18

The post Punitive Damages In Las Vegas Personal Injury Cases appeared first on D.R. PATTI & ASSOCIATES.