Suing for Punitive Damages in Siloam Springs
In Siloam Springs, Arkansas, the civil litigation system is primarily concerned with compensating the victims of wrongdoing, rather than punishing the wrongdoers, or casting moral blame upon them.
However, this general principle has a major exception. In rare cases, a Siloam Springs, Arkansas judge or jury can award damages to the plaintiff that are not calculated by the actual losses suffered. Instead, they serve the purpose of punishing the defendant, and deterring others from wrongdoing. These are called "punitive damages."
You should be aware that courts in Siloam Springs, Arkansas are not particularly fond of granting punitive damages, because they view it as a financial windfall that generally runs counter to civil litigation's primary purpose of compensating victims of wrongdoing for the harm they've suffered. However, if the conduct of the defendant was completely reprehensible and the harm caused was deliberate, a court might impose damages to punish the defendant, known as "punitive damages."
Conduct that can give rise to punitive damages in Siloam Springs, Arkansas
The vast majority of personal injury lawsuits in Siloam Springs, Arkansas involve cases 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 Siloam Springs, Arkansas.
In Siloam Springs, Arkansas, punitive damages are not awarded in most cases. They are normally only awarded when the defendant's actions was so reckless or deplorable that punishment of the defendant is warranted. Acts such as battery, fraud, and defamation (in some cases) are usually considered sufficient in Siloam Springs, Arkansas to justify punitive damages. In deciding whether to award punitive damages, and how much to award, the two most important factors the court looks at will be the level of immorality of the act, as well as the actual harm that the plaintiff suffered as a result of the defendant's conduct.
It's important to note that in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, punitive damages are not unlimited. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that punitive damages cannot be hugely disproportionate to the amount awarded to compensate the plaintiff for the actual injuries they suffered. If the punitive damages are extremely excessive, an appeals court might rule that they amount to a deprivation of property without due process of law, or a de facto criminal punishment, without affording the defendant the protections available in criminal cases.
In general, punitive damages in Siloam Springs, Arkansas cannot be more than 10 times larger than the actual damages suffered by the plaintiff. However, this is not an absolute rule, and appeals courts in Arkansas have upheld much larger awards, and found much smaller awards to be invalid. It's determined on a case-by-case basis.
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Siloam Springs, Arkansas's courts have wide discretion in awarding punitive damages. Accordingly, it is unrealistic to comprehensively discuss all the situations in which punitive damages can arise.
If you are engaged in a case in Siloam Springs, Arkansas that you believe might entitle you to punitive damages, a lot of money could be at stake. Thus, if you want to pursue your legal remedies, you should see a Siloam Springs, Arkansas civil litigation attorney as soon as possible.