Punitive damages are damages designed to punish a wrongdoer who acted with malice in causing an injury to another. Malice can be inferred if a person or business entity acted in a manner that demonstrated a willful and reckless disregard for the safety of others. If a manufacturer keeps making and selling a defective product that has a history of causing injury when used in the manner it was designed to be used, the manufacturer arguably has engaged in a conscious disregard of the probability that their product will cause injury or even death. California law says that such conduct supports a finding of malice necessary for the awarding of punitive damages against the manufacturer in a defective products lawsuit. If the Products Liability accident victim is injured, he or she can sue for all their damages including pain and suffering, lost income, and expended medical bills, past, present, and future. The victim can also sue for punitive damages. If the accident victim dies, the heirs can sue for wrongful death damages; but cannot sue for punitive damages. California law is in the minority of the United States jurisdictions permitting recovery only for the decedent's pre-death pecuniary losses; but excluding recovery for the pain, suffering and the disfigurement of the accident victim who died. The law is unjust in this regard because the manufacturer of dangerous products gets a pass from paying punitive damages if their dangerous product kills instead of just causing a personal injury. Consult Attorney Barry Regar the Coachella Valley wrongful death lawyer for any legal assistance or questions regarding defective products or wrongful death claims.