Suing for Punitive Damages in Riverside

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Litigation Lawyers in Riverside

In Riverside, California, the civil litigation system is mainly 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 cases, courts in Riverside, California 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.

It's critical to note that courts in Riverside, California prefer not to grant punitive damages. This is because the civil justice system is designed mainly to compensate the victims of wrongdoing. Nonetheless, there are some cases where the defendant's conduct was so immoral and evil that civil courts have an interest in making them pay further damages, going above and beyond what's needed to compensate the victim, in order to serve as a deterrent.

Conduct that can give rise to punitive damages in Riverside, California

Typically personal injury cases in Riverside, California involve injuries that the defendant did not intend to cause, but was still at fault in causing them (through negligence, for instance). In Riverside, California, this is not enough to justify the award of punitive damages.

Punitive Damages in Riverside, California are only awarded in cases where the behavior of the plaintiff was intentional and highly immoral, or extremely reckless. In Riverside, California, 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 Riverside, California 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 general, punitive damages in Riverside, California cannot be more than 10 times larger than the actual damages sustained by the plaintiff. Nonetheless, this is not an absolute rule, and appeals courts in California have upheld much larger awards, and found much smaller awards to be invalid. It's decided on a case-by-case basis.

How Can a Riverside, California Attorney Help?

In Riverside, California, 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 located in Riverside, California, 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 Riverside, California civil litigation attorney

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Life in Riverside

The City of Riverside is unsurprisingly the seat of Riverside County and home to numerous historical, cultural, and educational institutions. In fact, Riverside is called the "City of Arts and Innovation." The Fox Performing Arts Center is better known as the "Fox Theater" is best known for being the location for the first theater preview screening of the American Classic "Gone with the Wind." The Fox Theater was recently restored and reopened for a sold out Sheryl Crow concert. It's located in downtown near the California Museum of Photography, which boasts the most comprehensive photographic collection west of the Mississippi. The Riverside County Historic Courthouse is a historical and architectural attraction built in the "beaux arts" style. There are also a number of Queen Anne style homes in Riverside's Historic District.

Annual visitors come to Riverside for events like the Riverside International Film Festival, Riverside Air Show, and the Riverside Dickens Festival that campaigns for literary and community awareness. Other seasonal visitors include students attending the nearby institutions of higher education like nearby University of California at Riverside. UC Riverside is also the largest employer in the city with over 7,100 faculty and staff. California Baptist College, California Southern Law School, Riverside City College, and La Sierra University round out the other major colleges in Riverside. There are also a number of important courts in Riverside like the United States District Court, US Bankruptcy Court for Central California, Riverside Superior Court, and California Court of Appeals. You might guess there would be a number of knowledgeable lawyers in the area as well. Bakersfield actually offers a number of lawyers who specialize in more than Criminal, Bankruptcy, and Immigration cases. The bustling film industry in Riverside has brought a number entertainment and contract related lawyers to the city.

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