Sunday, April 2, 2006
From the Israel Hasbara Committee, a look at potential origins for punitive damages:
The very idea of an extra payment appears to conflict with the general rule of damages in the Torah and their guiding principle of “an eye for an eye” - that damages were meant to compensate only for the actual harm suffered as a result of the unlawful conduct. However, much like contemporary common law regimes, there were certain situations where the Torah sanctioned an increased award of damages. These extra damages ranged from the twenty percent increase described in the Parsha, to a four hundred percent premium for the then more offensive offense of the theft and slaughter or sale of another’s ox.