Suing for Punitive Damages in Fort Myers

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Litigation Lawyers in Fort Myers

In Fort Myers, Florida, the civil litigation system is mainly concerned with compensating the victims of wrongdoing, rather than punishing the wrongdoers, or casting moral blame upon them.

This basic principle is subject to an significant exception, however. There are cases where a judge in Fort Myers, Florida will order a defendant to pay the plaintiff a sum of money which is not calculated based on actual harm the plaintiff has suffered. These are called "punitive damages" and serve the purpose of punishing and deterring wrongdoing.

In Fort Myers, Florida, punitive damages are not awarded in many cases. This is because the civil litigation system highly disfavors giving money to plaintiffs in amounts disproportionate to the injuries they have suffered. Nonetheless, in some cases, the conduct of the defendant is so reprehensible, that simply punishing the defendant is a worthy goal, and this interest outweighs the preference against giving civil plaintiffs financial windfalls.

Conduct that can give rise to punitive damages in Fort Myers, Florida

Generally personal injury cases in Fort Myers, Florida do not involve punitive damages, because the defendant did not intend to cause harm, or act with some other form of malice. Rather, most of these cases involve situations where the defendant acted carelessly, but did not actually intend to cause harm. This is enough to award compensatory damages, but it is far from sufficient to award punitive damages in Fort Myers, Florida.

Punitive Damages in Fort Myers, Florida are only awarded in cases where the actions of the plaintiff was intentional and highly immoral, or extremely reckless. In Fort Myers, Florida, 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.

There are limits on punitive damages in Fort Myers, Florida. The Supreme Court has held that punitive damage awards which are grossly disproportionate to the immorality of the conduct, and the harm that it caused, are an unconstitutional deprivation of property without due process of law.

In Fort Myers, Florida, punitive damage awards are usually (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 Florida, 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 Fort Myers, Florida Attorney Help?

In Fort Myers, Florida, 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 are immersed in a case in Fort Myers, Florida 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 Fort Myers, Florida civil litigation attorney as soon as possible.

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Life in Fort Myers

Fort Myers is one of the two cities that makes up the Cape Coral-Fort Myers Metropolitan Area in Florida. Fort Myers is home to about 618,754 people. It is known for being a "gateway" into Southwest Florida, an area comprised of the cities tourists mostly visit.

Some popular attractions in Fort Myers includes the Art of the Olympians, Edison and Ford Winter Estates, Murphy-Burroughs House, Edison Mall, and the Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium. Fort Myers is also home to the training facility for the Red Sox!

Fort Myers is filled with many small law offices and firms specializing in all areas of law, and ready to serve the community. The legal force in Fort Myers is quiet capable of handling the legal needs of residents.

All in all, Fort Myers is a quaint city in Florida. It may not have the stretch of beaches that Florida is known for, but it definitely is a city with some small town charm!

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