Litigation Lawyers in Wellington
In Wellington, 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 Wellington, 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 Wellington, 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 Wellington, Colorado
Personal injury litigation doesn't typically carry with it the possibility of punitive damages in Wellington, Colorado, because typically personal injury cases stem from harm that was caused accidentally, not deliberately. Accidental harm is not enough to warrant an award of punitive damages in Wellington, Colorado.
Punitive damages in Wellington, Colorado are only awarded in the most extreme cases. Fraud, theft, assault, battery, and other intentional, immoral acts are grounds for punitive damages. Wellington, 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 important to note that in Wellington, 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.
A good rule of thumb for calculating the upper limit of punitive damages in Wellington, 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 Wellington, Colorado Attorney Help?
In Wellington, Colorado, there are a basically unlimited number of situtations in which punitive damages can be awarded.
If you have been hurt in Wellington, 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 Wellington, Colorado.