Litigation Lawyers in Clarkdale
In Clarkdale, Arizona, 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 Clarkdale, Arizona 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 Clarkdale, Arizona 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 Clarkdale, Arizona
A majority of personal injury litigation actions in Clarkdale, Arizona do not involve the possibility of punitive damages, because they usually involve injuries where the defendant is at fault for the harm caused, but did not intend to do any harm. In Clarkdale, Arizona, accidental harm may be enough to award the plaintiff compensatory damages, but it is not enough for punitive damages.
In Clarkdale, Arizona, punitive damages are only awarded in extreme circumstances. Civil wrongs such as fraud, conversion (theft), battery, and other intentional, depraved acts are sufficient to award punitive damages. In deciding whether or not to award punitive damages, and how much money to award, courts in Clarkdale, Arizona will consider many different factors. Usually, they employ a sliding scale, weighing the nature of the conduct and the actual harm that the conduct caused. The more immoral the conduct, and/or the more harm caused, the more likely a court is to award punitive damages.
You should be aware of the fact that there are some pretty severe limits on punitive damages in Clarkdale, Arizona. The U.S. Supreme Court has found that there are constitutional limits on punitive damage awards. Punitive damages can't be too disproportionate to the actual damages that the plaintiff has suffered. Appeals courts have found that excessive punitive damage awards violate the defendant's right to due process, by depriving them of large amounts of property.
Punitive damages in Clarkdale, Arizona usually cannot exceed 10 times the amount of actual damages suffered by the plaintiff. However, this is just a guideline, and not a strict rule. Courts in Arizona have found larger punitive damage awards to be perfectly valid, and smaller ones to be invalid. This will be highly dependent on the facts of each case.
How Can a Clarkdale, Arizona Attorney Help?
Clarkdale, Arizona's courts have wide discretion in awarding punitive damages. Accordingly, it is impossible to comprehensively discuss all the situations in which punitive damages can arise.
If you are involved in a case in Clarkdale, Arizona that you believe might entitle you to punitive damages, a lot of money could be at stake. So, if you want to pursue your legal remedies, you should see a Clarkdale, Arizona civil litigation attorney as soon as possible.