Punitive damages are damages awarded to an individual in a court case that are intended to punish the defendant. The purpose of punitive damages is to deter the individual at fault from continuing to use abusive practices in future cases. Punitive damages can be awarded in cases where the actual damage award is deemed inadequate for the damages experienced by the plaintiff. What do Punitive Damages Mean in an FDCPA Case? Punitive damages in an FDCPA case can be levied against a debt collector who has used abusive practices in an attempt to collect a debt from a consumer. Punitive damages are awarded to the plaintiff in order to punish the debt collector. They are often awarded if the court determines that the actual damage award is insufficient to remedy the damages made to the consumer. Punitive damages are not awarded in all cases, even if the creditor is found to be at fault in the case. How Can an Attorney Help? If you feel you have been harmed by the actions of a debt collector, an attorney may be able to help. You may be able to file a suit at the state or federal level and may be awarded both actual and punitive damages if the court determines the debt collectors acted in an unlawful manner in their attempts to collect a debt from you. An attorney can advise you of your rights and help determine if you can file a state or federal FDCPA case against your creditors.