Litigation Lawyers in Manitou Springs
In Manitou Springs, 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 Manitou Springs, 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 Manitou Springs, 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 Manitou Springs, Colorado
Typically personal injury cases in Manitou Springs, Colorado involve injuries that the defendant did not intend to cause, but was still at fault in causing them (through negligence, for instance). In Manitou Springs, Colorado, this is not enough to justify the award of punitive damages.
Punitive Damages in Manitou Springs, Colorado are only awarded in cases where the behavior of the plaintiff was intentional and highly immoral, or extremely reckless. In Manitou Springs, Colorado, 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.
You should be cognizant of the fact that there are some pretty severe limits on punitive damages in Manitou Springs, Colorado. The U.S. Supreme Court has found that there are constitutional limits on punitive damage awards. Punitive damages can't be too disproportionate to the actual damages that the plaintiff has suffered. Appeals courts have found that excessive punitive damage awards violate the defendant's right to due process, by depriving them of considerable amounts of property.
A good rule of thumb for calculating the upper limit of punitive damages in Manitou Springs, Colorado is that punitive damages can be no larger than compensatory damages times ten. This rule is not absolute, of course. Courts in Colorado have a good deal of discretion in awarding punitive damages, and will decide them based on the facts of each case. Because of this, punitive damage awards larger than 10 times compensatory damages are occasionally upheld, while much smaller awards have been overturned, because they were deemed excessive in a certain case.
How Can a Manitou Springs, Colorado Attorney Help?
In Manitou Springs, Colorado, 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 have been hurt in Manitou Springs, 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 Manitou Springs, Colorado.