This research brief describes work documented in Punitive Damages in Financial Injury Jury Verdicts (MR-888-ICJ) and Punitive Damages in Financial Injury Jury Verdicts: Executive Summary (MR-889-ICJ).

Excerpt: Personal injury disputes — for example, those concerning asbestos or medical devices — have dominated the long-running debate over tort reform and punitive damages. However, prior ICJ studies established that almost half of all punitive damage awards were made in cases in which the damages were financial in nature, rather than personal. Moreover, these financial injury verdicts are far more likely to include an award of punitive damages. While punitive damages are awarded in less than 4 percent of all civil jury verdicts, there is a 1-in-7 chance of a punitive award in disputes arising from contractual or commercial relationships, including, for example, disputes stemming from insurance or employment contracts or from unfair business practices.

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