According to the Wex legal dictionary, “punitive damages are considered punishment and are awarded when the defendant’s behavior is found to be especially harmful…” In the state of Connecticut, punitive damages are allowed in medical malpractice cases. However, in order for a jury to award a plaintiff punitive damages, there are a few things that must be proven.
Burden of Persuasion
A Connecticut medical malpractice plaintiff must present clear and convincing evidence that his or her version of the facts is indeed factual. The minority rule, which means that “preponderance of the evidence” showed that the defendant(s) actions deserve the awarding of punitive damages.
Severity of Conduct
Besides meeting the burden of persuasion, a plaintiff must show that a reprehensible act was performed by the defendant, thereby justifying the award of punitive damages. In Connecticut, a defendant must have performed an act that showed “a reckless indifference to the rights of another or the intentional and wanton violation of those rights.”
Punitive damages in Connecticut, though, are limited to litigation costs, including the plaintiff’s attorney’s fees. While this may not seem like much of a punishment, it could conceivably come to a significant amount of money. It also can provide a sense of justice for the victim and his or her family.
Medical malpractice can result in life-altering illness or injuries or even death. These cases require an extensive knowledge of the laws in Connecticut and the resources for providing expert witnesses and other evidence. An experienced attorney can provide advice and guidance in these cases, which can increase the chances of a positive outcome in your case.
Source: cga.ct.gov, “Punitive damage awards, caps, and standards” Sep. 25, 2014