Suing for Punitive Damages in San Francisco

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Litigation Lawyers in San Francisco

In San Francisco, 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 circumstances, courts in San Francisco, 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.

It's critical to note that courts in San Francisco, California prefer not to grant punitive damages. This is because the civil justice system is designed primarily to compensate the victims of wrongdoing. However, there are some cases where the defendant's conduct was so immoral and evil that civil courts have an interest in making them pay additional 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 San Francisco, California

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

Punitive damages in San Francisco, California are not granted in many cases. They are only awarded when the defendant's conduct was so deplorable and deliberate (but not necessarily criminal) that punishment is warranted. Fraud, battery, conversion (theft) and other intentional, insidious acts are usually required before punitive damages in San Francisco, California will be considered. Furthermore, in deciding how much to award in punitive damages, a court will consider 2 main factors: the insidious nature of the defendant's conduct, and the actual harm that the plaintiff suffered as a result.

There are limits on punitive damages in San Francisco, California. The Supreme Court has held that punitive damage awards which are grossly disproportionate to the immorality of the conduct, and the harm that it caused, are an unconstitutional deprivation of property without due process of law.

Punitive damages in San Francisco, California 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 California 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 San Francisco, California Attorney Help?

The law of San Francisco, California doesn't lay out many strict conditions which are required before punitive damages can be granted. Instead, it largely leaves it to the discretion of the courts. So, there are several situations where they might be awarded.

If you have been injured in San Francisco, 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 San Francisco, California.

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Life in San Francisco

San Francisco is one of the most exciting cities in California. Known for its diverse population, liberal atmosphere, and gorgeous location, San Francisco is a small area that has a lot to check out!

One of the most famous attractions is the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge. Gorgeous views of this attraction can be seen from the Lands End hike. Of course, nothing beats actually driving on the bridge and experiencing its beauty.

Other popular attractions include the San Francisco Museum of Art, Chinatown, Ghiradelli Square, Fisherman's Wharf at Pier 39, Golden Gate Park, the Metreon, Union Square, and the beautiful Embarcadero.

Really a few paragraphs cannot encompass the diverse, fun, and exciting vibe of this hip metropolitan city. San Francisco's downtown is known at the "Financial District," which has offices of many high-tech start-ups, Fortune 500 companies, as well as law firms! Everyone from small, to mid-size, to large multi-national firms have an office location in San Francisco. What is great is that Northern California residents can shop around and choose the attorney and/or firm that will suit their needs best. Simply put, San Francisco has it all.

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