Suing for Punitive Damages in Chattanooga

Punitive Damages in Chattanooga, Punitive Damages in  TN

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In Chattanooga, Tennessee, civil litigation is not meant to punish wrongdoers, at least that is not its main purpose. Instead, it is designed to ensure that the victims of wrongdoing are given compensation for the harm they've suffered.

There is a major exception to this rule, however. In limited situations, courts in Chattanooga, Tennessee will order a defendant to pay the plaintiff damages which are not directly tied to any harm sustained by the plaintiff. Rather, these damages, which are known as "punitive damages", are meant to punish the wrongdoer, and serve as a deterrent.

In Chattanooga, Tennessee, punitive damages are not awarded in many cases. This is because the civil litigation system highly disfavors giving money to plaintiffs in amounts disproportionate to the injuries they have suffered. Nonetheless, in some cases, the conduct of the defendant is so reprehensible, that simply punishing the defendant is a worthy goal, and this interest outweighs the preference against giving civil plaintiffs financial windfalls.

Conduct that can give rise to punitive damages in Chattanooga, Tennessee

The vast majority of personal injury lawsuits in Chattanooga, Tennessee involve instances in which the defendant did not intend to harm the plaintiff, but did so through carelessness. This is not enough to award punitive damages in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Punitive Damages in Chattanooga, Tennessee are only awarded in cases where the actions of the plaintiff was intentional and highly immoral, or extremely reckless. In Chattanooga, Tennessee, torts such as fraud, gross negligence, and theft are sufficient to award punitive damages. Courts consider numerous factors when deciding whether or not punitive damages are warranted. Courts will look at the nature of the act, as well as the defendant's intent in performing the act. This will be weighed, on a sliding scale, against the actual harm that the defendant's conduct caused to the plaintiff.

It's critical to know that punitive damages in Chattanooga, Tennessee are subject to limits. The Supreme Court of the United States has held, more than once, that punitive damages can't be grossly disproportionate to the actual harm sustained by the plaintiff. Grossly excessive punitive damage awards are unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has held, because they amount to the government acquiring property from the defendant without due process of law.

In Chattanooga, Tennessee, punitive damage awards are usually (but not always) capped at 10 times the amount awarded in compensatory damages. Remember, however, that this is just a basic rule of thumb, and is not completely rigid. In Tennessee, appeals courts have a good deal of discretion in deciding if a punitive damage award is valid or invalid. Much larger awards have been upheld, and smaller awards have been overturned. The validity of a specific punitive damage award will depend heavily on the facts of each case.

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How Can a Chattanooga, Tennessee Attorney Help?

In Chattanooga, Tennessee, there are a large variety of situations in which punitive damages are appropriate, because the decision to grant punitive damages is largely up to the discretion of the jury.

If you are immersed in a case in Chattanooga, Tennessee that you believe might entitle you to punitive damages, a lot of money could be at stake. Therefore, if you want to pursue your legal remedies, you should see a Chattanooga, Tennessee civil litigation attorney as soon as possible.

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Life in Chattanooga

Chattanooga, Tennessee is the 4th largest city in Tennessee, with a a population of about 170,000 people. It is located in Hamilton and Marion Counties.

Chattanooga, TN was founded in 1838 when the United States government, unfortunately, forced the Native American population of the area off of their historical lands, and then established a military base.

Modernly, Chattanooga, TN is undergoing a renaissance, with a concerted effort underway to repair its image, which had been somewhat tarnished over the last few decades, with its industrial economic base disappearing, as happened in many American cities.

Thanks to public and private investment, with many of the major deals negotiated and drafted by Chattanooga, TN lawyers, the city's economy is now a fairly diverse mix of manufacturing and service-based industries. In 2011, Volkswagen opened a manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, TN which cost $1 billion to build, and is expected to employ over 2,000 people when fully operational.

Because of this highly diverse economy, Chattanooga, TN lawyers have a lot to keep themselves busy. So, it should come as no surprise that a Chattanooga, TN lawyer will almost certainly be able to help you with whatever legal problems you may have.

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