Suing for Punitive Damages in Yavapai County
In Yavapai County, 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 Yavapai County, 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 Yavapai County, 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 Yavapai County, Arizona
Personal injury litigation doesn't typically carry with it the possibility of punitive damages in Yavapai County, Arizona, because typically personal injury cases stem from harm that was caused accidentally, not deliberately. Accidental harm is not enough to warrant an award of punitive damages in Yavapai County, Arizona.
In Yavapai County, Arizona, punitive damages are only awarded in extreme cases. 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 Yavapai County, Arizona will consider many different factors. Typically, 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.
It's critical to know that punitive damages in Yavapai County, Arizona 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 suffered by the plaintiff. Grossly excessive punitive damage awards are unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has held, because they amount to the government taking property from the defendant without due process of law.
Punitive damages in Yavapai County, Arizona typically 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.
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In Yavapai County, Arizona, there are a essentially unlimited number of situtations in which punitive damages can be awarded.
If you are located in Yavapai County, Arizona, and are engaged in a case that you think, based on the information conveyed above, that might have punitive damages as an option, you can't be sure what, if anything, you're entitled to from the defendant until you consult with a Yavapai County, Arizona civil litigation attorney