Limit on the Amount of Punitive Damages:
With North Carolina General Statute 1D-25, our legislature set a limit on the amount of damages that a judge or jury can allow for punitive damages. By statute, punitive damages SHALL NOT exceed three (3) times the amount given for compensatory damages (the amount given for the injury itself) or $250,000, whichever is greater. This means that if a jury gives you $50,000 for your injuries as the result of an assault, a jury or judge cannot award you an amount for punitive damages in excess of $250,000. In addition, if a jury awards you $200,000 for your injuries, then the award for punitive damages cannot exceed $600,000. If a jury awards a verdict in excess of the maximum amount allowed, then the judge will reduce the award for punitive damages to statutory maximum. There is one major exception to this cap on punitive damages. Under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1D-26, this limit of $250,000 or three times your compensatory damages SHALL NOT apply if the defendant was driving while intoxicated at the time he injured the victim.
Unfortunately, if the defendant wrongdoer is dead, there will be no claim for punitive damages. However, if the victim dies as a result of the wrongdoer’s careless and reckless behavior then the estate of the deceased may pursue a claim for punitive damages.