Litigation Lawyers in Wheat Ridge
In Wheat Ridge, Colorado, the civil litigation system is primarily 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 Wheat Ridge, Colorado will order a defendant to pay the plaintiff damages which are not directly tied to any harm suffered 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 aware that courts in Wheat Ridge, Colorado are not particularly fond of granting 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 Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Personal injury litigation doesn't typically carry with it the possibility of punitive damages in Wheat Ridge, 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 Wheat Ridge, Colorado.
Punitive damages in Wheat Ridge, Colorado are only awarded in the most extreme cases. Fraud, theft, assault, battery, and other intentional, immoral acts are grounds for punitive damages. Wheat Ridge, Colorado courts will consider various factors in considering whether or not to award punitive damages. For example, 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 know that punitive damages in Wheat Ridge, 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 suffered by the plaintiff. Grossly excessive punitive damage awards are unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has held, because they amount to the government taking property from the defendant without due process of law.
Usually, in Wheat Ridge, 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, however, 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 Wheat Ridge, Colorado Attorney Help?
In Wheat Ridge, Colorado, there are an essentially unlimited number of situtations in which punitive damages can be awarded.
If you live in Wheat Ridge, Colorado and are engaged in a case that you believe carries the possibility of a punitive damage award, you may be entitled to a large amount of money from the person or company that hurt you. To know for sure, you should speak with a civil litigation attorney in Wheat Ridge, Colorado.