Litigation Lawyers in Silverthorne
In Silverthorne, 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 situations, courts in Silverthorne, 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 Silverthorne, 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 Silverthorne, Colorado
Generally personal injury cases in Silverthorne, Colorado involve injuries that the defendant did not intend to cause, but was still at fault in causing them (through negligence, for instance). In Silverthorne, Colorado, this is not enough to justify the award of punitive damages.
In Silverthorne, Colorado, punitive damages are not awarded in most cases. They are usually only awarded when the defendant's behavior 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 Silverthorne, 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 essential to know that punitive damages in Silverthorne, 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.
Punitive damages in Silverthorne, Colorado normally cannot surpass 10 times the amount of actual damages suffered by the plaintiff. Nonetheless, this is just a guideline, and not a strict rule. Courts in Colorado have found larger punitive damage awards to be perfectly valid, and smaller ones to be invalid. This will be strongly dependent on the facts of each case.
How Can a Silverthorne, Colorado Attorney Help?
In Silverthorne, 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 situations that can lead to a punitive damage award.
If you are immersed in a case in Silverthorne, Colorado that you believe might entitle you to punitive damages, a lot of money could be at stake. Therefore, if you want to pursue your legal remedies, you should see a Silverthorne, Colorado civil litigation attorney as soon as possible.