Suing for Punitive Damages in Los Gatos

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Litigation Lawyers in Los Gatos

In Los Gatos, California, the civil litigation system is primarily concerned with compensating the victims of wrongdoing, rather than punishing the wrongdoers, or casting moral blame upon them.

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

In Los Gatos, California, punitive damages are not awarded in many cases. This is because the civil litigation system strongly disfavors giving money to plaintiffs in amounts disproportionate to the injuries they have suffered. However, 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 Los Gatos, California

Generally personal injury cases in Los Gatos, California do not involve punitive damages, because the defendant did not intend to cause harm, or act with some other form of malice. Rather, most of these cases involve situations where the defendant acted carelessly, but did not actually intend to cause harm. This is enough to award compensatory damages, but it is far from sufficient to award punitive damages in Los Gatos, California.

In Los Gatos, California, punitive damages are not awarded in most cases. They are usually only awarded when the defendant's behavior 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 Los Gatos, California 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.

However, in Los Gatos, California, the law places limits on punitive damages. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled many times that punitive damages cannot be grossly disproportionate to the evil nature of the conduct, and the injuries that the defendant suffered. If they are disproportionate, punitive damages might be considered a deprivation of the defendant's right to due process of law.

A good rule of thumb for calculating the upper limit of punitive damages in Los Gatos, California is that punitive damages can be no larger than compensatory damages times ten. This rule is not absolute, of course. Courts in California have a good deal of discretion in awarding punitive damages, and will determine them based on the facts of each case. Because of this, punitive damage awards larger than 10 times compensatory damages are sometimes upheld, while much smaller awards have been overturned, because they were deemed excessive in a particular case.

How Can a Los Gatos, California Attorney Help?

In Los Gatos, California, there are a virtually unlimited number of situtations in which punitive damages can be awarded.

If you have been harmed in Los Gatos, California and you think punitive damages might be justified, a large amount of money might be at stake. For that reason, you should not hesitate to consult a civil litigation attorney in Los Gatos, California.

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Life in Los Gatos

Los Gatos, California is a city in Santa Clara County, in the southern portion of the San Francisco Bay Area. Its population is currently about 25,000 people. "Los Gatos" is Spanish for "the cats." The name refers to the mountain lions which used to roam the area.

The nearest large city to Los Gatos is San Jose. It is also a fairly short drive from the other major Bay Area cities of San Francisco and Oakland, meaning that residents of Los Gatos, California have access to a wide variety of amenities and job opportunities that these three large, and very different, cities offer.

Being located in the Silicon Valley region of California, several high-tech companies, including Netflix, ImageShack, Cryptic Studios, among others, are headquartered in Los Gatos, California.

Thanks to the presence of companies like those, many national and international law firms have Silicon Valley offices, many of them close to Los Gatos. Of course, you don't need to be able to afford the rates charged by a large law firm to get quality legal representation in Los Gatos, California. There are many quality and affordable Los Gatos, California lawyers who can help you with almost any legal issue you might be facing.

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