What Are Punitive Damages in Michigan?

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Michigan law allows for exemplary damages, which are similar to punitive damages but with a different intent.

In other states, punitive damages are ordered as a punishment for the defendant’s egregious, malicious, or despicable behavior. In Michigan, exemplary damages are awarded to victims who claim that the defendant has acted with malice or willful disregard for the victim’s rights.

The difference is slight. Exemplary damages in Michigan are meant to compensate the plaintiff because of the defendant’s despicable conduct, rather than to deter or punish the defendant.


Types of Michigan Exemplary Damages Awarded to Victims

When a person has been injured because of negligence, he or she is entitled to receive compensation for the damages he or she has suffered. Typical compensatory damages include medical costs, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other financial and non-financial losses.

With exemplary damages, the victim can be further compensated based on the nature of the injury he or she suffered. If your injury was caused by the malicious behavior of the defendant, you can request additional damages in Michigan.

The following are some of the reasons a judge might award exemplary damages:

  • The harm has impacted the victim’s dignity.
  • The victim feels a sense of insult.
  • The victim has suffered humiliation.
  • The harm was egregious.
  • The defendant had a chance to avoid harming the victim and ignored it.


Contact a Detroit Personal Injury Lawyer

In Michigan, punitive damages are not permitted to punish defendants, but exemplary damages are awarded to the plaintiff for especially despicable behavior on the part of the defendant.

If you believe your case warrants exemplary damages, call a Detroit personal injury attorney at Christensen Law to discuss your case. We’re happy to speak with you for free when you fill out the contact form below or call 248-900-9000.

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