Suing for Punitive Damages in Santa Ana

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Litigation Lawyers in Santa Ana

In Santa Ana, 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 circumstances, courts in Santa Ana, 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 essential to note that courts in Santa Ana, 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 Santa Ana, California

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

Punitive damages in Santa Ana, California are not authorized 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 Santa Ana, 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.

It's essential to note that in Santa Ana, California, punitive damages are not unlimited. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that punitive damages cannot be hugely disproportionate to the amount awarded to compensate the plaintiff for the actual injuries they suffered. If the punitive damages are extremely excessive, an appeals court might rule that they amount to a deprivation of property without due process of law, or a de facto criminal punishment, without affording the defendant the protections available in criminal cases.

In Santa Ana, California, punitive damage awards are typically (but not always) capped at 10 times the amount awarded in compensatory damages. Remember, however, that this is just a basic rule of thumb, and is not completely rigid. In California, appeals courts have a good deal of discretion in deciding if a punitive damage award is valid or invalid. Much larger awards have been upheld, and smaller awards have been overturned. The validity of a specific punitive damage award will depend heavily on the facts of each case.

How Can a Santa Ana, California Attorney Help?

Santa Ana, California's courts have wide discretion in awarding punitive damages. Therefore, it is impossible to comprehensively discuss all the situations in which punitive damages can arise.

If you are involved in a case in Santa Ana, California where punitive damages are a possibility, a very large amount of money could be at stake, whether you are the plaintiff or defendant. You should not delay to speak with a civil litigation attorney in Santa Ana, California

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Life in Santa Ana

Santa Ana is the county seat of the infamous Orange County, California. Santa Ana is the 4th most densely populated area in the United States with over 325,000 residents. Santa Ana is known nationally for it's beautiful coastline and it lends its name to the Santa Ana Freeway that bisects the city as well as the winds that historically fuel wildfires in Southern California, the Santa Ana Winds. One of the reasons people flock to Santa Ana is for work with Orange County at the Santa Ana Civic Center. Santa Ana has a high number of skilled lawyers because it's the location of the Orange County Supreme Court and the Ronald Reagan Federal Building and Courthouse.

Santa Ana's close proximity to Los Angeles attracts many corporate headquarters. Behr Paint, Corinthian Colleges, First American Corporation, and The Orange County Register all have their corporate headquarters in Santa Ana. Ingram Micro is the world's largest information technology distributor and outdoes all of the others as the top employer in Santa Ana besides Orange County. For those folks commuting out of the city by way of public transit, Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner runs through Los Angeles to San Diego. Santa Ana also has service from the Metrolink Orange County Line to Oceanside and the Inland Empire Line running to San Juan Capistrano and San Bernardino.

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