These are (how reprehensible was the defendant's conduct), (the disparity between the harm suffered by the plaintiff and the compensation for punitive damages) and (the difference between compensation for punitive damages and the civil penalties and remedies imposed in similar cases). As the Court noted, compensatory damages are, by their nature, “speculative and arbitrary approaches”. There is no objective standard, nor is there an applicable mathematical formula to meet the objective of deterring unlawful conduct. Without objective rules to guide them and understandably outraged by the defendant's conduct (in this case, a police officer who had beaten a Vietnam-era veteran who was suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his military service), jurors are free to award punitive compensation of any amount.
The Court warned of the inherent danger of allowing jurors unlimited discretion to assess punitive damages, since those sentences set a precedent for the award of excessive awards in future cases. In addition, he noted that compensation for uncontrolled damages can cause serious damage to the national economy, lead companies to go bankrupt, force companies to reduce the workforce, exhaust municipal treasuries, increase the costs of insurance premiums and dissuade individuals and companies from undertaking socially desirable activities and risks. The Court concluded that these social charges were not justified by benefits for individual plaintiffs, and noted that these awards “have been qualified as “windfall gains” if a plaintiff receives full compensation. In some cases, the Court noted that, in reality, it is the public that pays taxes that bears the brunt of excessive punitive compensation (for example, due to compensation agreements between municipalities and their employees, who may be held responsible for such punitive compensation).
Troy, in which he confirmed compensation for punitive damages in a personal injury lawsuit related to a multi-vehicle accident. For more information on punitive damages, see this note from the Yale Law Journal and this note from the University of Minnesota Law Review. Any personal injury case is complicated enough as it is, but once you enter the territory of punitive damages, the complexity skyrockets. However, sometimes, a personal injury plaintiff can seek both compensatory compensation and what are known as punitive damages.
Punitive damages serve important functions in the law, but are rarely available to personal injury plaintiffs.