Litigation Lawyers in Fruita
In Fruita, 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 Fruita, 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 Fruita, 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 Fruita, Colorado
Typically personal injury cases in Fruita, Colorado involve injuries that the defendant did not intend to cause, but was still at fault in causing them (through negligence, for instance). In Fruita, Colorado, this is not enough to justify the award of punitive damages.
Punitive damages in Fruita, Colorado are only awarded in the most extreme cases. Fraud, theft, assault, battery, and other intentional, immoral acts are grounds for punitive damages. Fruita, Colorado courts will consider various factors in considering whether or not to award punitive damages. For instance, the court might employ a sliding scale that weighs the immorality of the defendant's behavior against the actual harm that it caused to the plaintiff, and calculate damages accordingly.
It's essential to note that in Fruita, Colorado, 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 Fruita, Colorado, punitive damage awards are normally (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 Colorado, 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 Fruita, Colorado Attorney Help?
In Fruita, Colorado, there are a practically unlimited number of situtations in which punitive damages can be awarded.
If you have been hurt in Fruita, Colorado and you think punitive damages might be justified, a large amount of money might be at stake. For that reason, you should not delay to consult a civil litigation attorney in Fruita, Colorado.