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Punitive damages can be described as the reimbursements that a plaintiff is given as compensation so that it could reform the defendant from engaging in similar actions that caused harm to the plaintiff. In the case of Lei beck vs. MacDonald’s, it was appropriate that the jury established punitive damages to the plaintiff because the hot coffee that burnt the plaintiff was thirty degrees hotter than the other coffees which could cause third-degree burns which the plaintiff suffered after she spilled the coffee on her body. However, MacDonald’s should not have been asked to pay the whole amount mainly because, though its coffee was very hot, it was also the responsibility of the plaintiff to be careful and ensure that she did not place the coffee in areas that could cause any harm to her.
Punitive damages are usually important mainly because they help detect violations that are may be difficult to identify. However, these damages have proved to be deterrent to companies that produce defective products. This is because one challenge of punitive damages to these companies is that the amount that they may be asked to pay a plaintiff is usually hard for the companies to calculate as a lot of factors are usually considered before a certain amount is reached, and the amount is usually of high value that may affect the revenue of the company. Punitive damages are also deterrent to the companies as these cases usually take a longer time to resolve which usually tend to affect the reputation of the company being sued and hence affecting its sales, production levels, and revenue.
Although a number of punitive damages are decided by a jury though considering a lot of factors, it is important that a limit or cap is placed when deciding a number of punitive damages that a plaintiff will be paid by the defendant. The reasonable limit should be that a company only pays for damages caused by its product on the plaintiff by either settling the medical bills that a plaintiff paid or also adding a little amount of compensation. This will help reduce the rising cases of people suing companies for punitive damages because they expect to get a lot of compensation from the companies (www.youtube.com). The limit will not prevent the manufacture of defective products by companies as it will ensure that companies do not suffer huge financial blows when faced with a case on punitive damages unlike now when they are forced to pay huge amounts to plaintiffs as compensation