What Happens to the Money When a Jury Assesses Punitive Damages?

Chris Finney, Trial Attorney

So in some cases the law allows the plaintiff to bring a punitive damage count in addition to their counts of negligence.

What are Punitive Damages?

Now, a punitive damage count is essentially brought on behalf of all the residents of the state of Missouri. It’s to punish and deter the person who caused the crash and to punish and deter that conduct. What most people don’t know is what happens to that money?

Punitive Damages, Who Gets the Money?

We see this in the news very, very frequently. There’s a huge punitive damage award and what most people don’t know is in the state of Missouri fifty percent (50%) of that damage award goes to the state of Missouri, and it’s given to the state of Missouri because it’s on behalf of the residents of the state of Missouri.

So, if you see a big punitive damage award, what you need to keep in mind is where’s that money going? It’s going to the betterment of the state. More precisely, fifty percent (50%) of that money goes to the state. It doesn’t go to the pocket of the plaintiff; it doesn’t go to the pocket of the lawyers. Fifty percent (50%) of that goes to improve the state of Missouri.

Can I Sue for Punitive Damages?

Our St. Louis based Personal Injury Lawyers are committed to fighting for victims’ rights and recovering the maximum amount of economic, non-economic, and punitive damages for your case. If you have questions about whether you can recover punitive damages in your case, or if you want to learn more about our firm, contact our trial attorneys at 314-293-4222. We don’t charge for consultations, and we never ask for attorney fees unless your personal injury claim is successful.

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Posted Under: Trial FAQs