A split of authority exists among the few states which have decided the issue In jurisdictions permitting recovery of punitive damages, uninsured motorist coverage is intended to place the insurer in the shoes of the uninsured tortfeasor. Since the insurer stands in the shoes of the tortfeasor, and since punitive damages could be covered if the tortfeasor had his own insurance, it is illogical to deny the victim punitive damages simply because the tortfeasor is uninsured. Other jurisdictions believe that punitive damages should not be awarded since that award would not operate to punish the tortfeasor and would therefore violate public policy. In Hutchinson v. J.C Penney Casualty Insurance Company, the Ohio Supreme Court held that such recovery is permissible and does not violate public policy.
"Uninsured Motorist Insurance Now Covers Punitive Award - Hutchinson v. J.C. Penny Casualty Insurance Company,"
Akron Law Review: Vol. 19:
2, Article 8.
Available at: https://ideaexchange.uakron.edu/akronlawreview/vol19/iss2/8