Punitive damages are money awards that go beyond compensatory damages and are meant to punish the action of the defendant that caused the injury.Punitive damages discourage repeat behavior. They also serve to help the plaintiff pay for attorney’s fees, which are typically 30-40% of the settlement in a personal injury case, and to allow the plaintiff money for necessary bills not covered in compensatory damages. The burden of proof that punitive damages are needed and deserved falls on the plaintiff.