Suing for Punitive Damages in Fort Collins

Find the right Litigation attorney in Fort Collins, CO

Litigation Lawyers in Fort Collins

In Fort Collins, Colorado, 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 Fort Collins, Colorado 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.

You should be cognizant that courts in Fort Collins, Colorado are not especially fond of authorizing 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 Fort Collins, Colorado

The vast majority of personal injury lawsuits in Fort Collins, Colorado involve cases in which the defendant did not intend to harm the plaintiff, but did so through carelessness. This is not enough to award punitive damages in Fort Collins, Colorado.

In Fort Collins, Colorado, punitive damages are not awarded in most cases. They are normally only awarded when the defendant's actions 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 Fort Collins, Colorado 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.

It's crucial to know that punitive damages in Fort Collins, Colorado 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.

Usually, in Fort Collins, Colorado, punitive damage awards that exceed the actual damages (those awarded to directly compensate the plaintiff) by a factor of 10. This is not an absolute rule, nonetheless, and is applied on a case-by-case basis. Courts in Colorado have found much smaller awards to be invalid, and upheld much larger awards.

How Can a Fort Collins, Colorado Attorney Help?

In Fort Collins, Colorado, judges and juries have a good deal of leeway in deciding if they want to grant punitive damages, so there are a nearly-unlimited number of cases that can lead to a punitive damage award.

If you are engaged in a case in Fort Collins, Colorado that you believe might entitle you to punitive damages, a lot of money could be at stake. Thus, if you want to pursue your legal remedies, you should see a Fort Collins, Colorado civil litigation attorney as soon as possible.

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Life in Fort Collins

Fort Collins is a medium-sized city. It is a home-rule municipality, meaning that it is not part of any county, and the state of Colorado has delegated some of its authority to the city, which the city can exercise within its own borders. It has a population of about 137,000. Fort Collins is generally known as a college town, being home to Colorado State University. The city of Fort Collins frequently ranks near the top of Money Magazine's list of best places in the U.S. to live. Because of the large college-aged demographic, Fort Collins has a thriving music and art scene, as well as a large number of well-regarded microbreweries. Fort Collins has a healthy and diverse economy, with major employers such as Colorado State University, Hewlett Packard, AMD, Wal-Mart, and many others providing thousands of public and private-sector jobs, in a wide variety of fields. Given its size, diversity, and vitality, it should come as no surprise that, with all the business that's done in Fort Collins, there are sometimes legal issues. For that reason, it shouldn't be a surprise that there are many Fort Collins, Colorado lawyers who are very skilled. If you're facing a legal issue, a Fort Collins, Colorado lawyer can help.

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