13. The policy behind punitive damages is to create an economic disincentive to an organization that is
(apparently) grossly negligent. For decades, automobile companies manufactured vehicles known to be defective. However, until the economic costs of settling the deaths and maimings from the defect became more than the cost of re-outfitting the vehicles, the automobile companies deemed it was financially feasible (if not advisable, from that very narrow standpoint) to continue manufacturing defective vehicles that were killing people.
This is the reason why courts must be able to issue damages awards like this.