Exemplary damages in Texas may be awarded to the Plaintiff to punish the negligent party, the defendant. Exemplary damages can be awarded to the Plaintiff in addition to actual damages which cover the costs of medical bills, and lost wages, etc.
Section 41.003 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code, details when the courts can award exemplary damages.
Generally, in order to collect exemplary damages from the Judge or Jury, you must prove, by clear and convincing evidence that your harm was a result of malice, fraud or gross negligence.
There are legal definitions for malice, fraud or gross negligence. “Malice”, for example, means a specific intent by the defendant to cause substantial injury or harm to the claimant. So, basically in order to recover exemplary damages when you allege malice from the jury you must prove to each of the jury members that the defendant had a specific intent to cause you substantial injury or harm.
A jury must unanimously decide that the person you are suing is liable and the amount of the exemplary damages.
There are a few exceptions to this rule if you sue under certain legal statutes.
This article is for educational purposes only. You should not use it for legal advice.