Punitive damages (AKA exemplary damages) are permissible in Texas, but are generally only awarded in personal injury and wrongful death cases where the actions of the defendant involved severe misconduct such as fraud, malice, or gross negligence.
Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages are meant to punish the responsible party or entity, and serve as a means to deter others from engaging in the same wrongful actions.
Due to the serious nature and (often sizable) amounts of money that juries can award for punitive damages, victims are only entitled to seek exemplary damages if they have also suffered actual damages (e.g., medical bills, lost wages, etc). Additionally, punitive damages are only awarded if the victim can prove “clear and convincing evidence” as opposed to the normal “preponderance of the evidence” standard for simple negligence.
For most cases, the maximum amount you can receive in punitive damages is limited to two times the amount that the jury awards for economic damages, plus an amount equal to what the jury awards for non-economic damages (up to $750,000).