Suing for Punitive Damages in Palm Harbor

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Litigation Lawyers in Palm Harbor

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

This general principle is subject to an important exception, however. There are cases where a judge in Palm Harbor, 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.

Courts in Palm Harbor, Florida do not grant punitive damages in most cases. The civil litigation system is geared against granting financial windfalls to civil plaintiffs. But, there are rare cases, where the defendant has done something to the plaintiff that is so morally reprehensible, that society's interest in punishing the defendant and deterring similar misconduct outweighs the civil justice system's preference against punitive damages.

Conduct that can give rise to punitive damages in Palm Harbor, Florida

Generally personal injury cases in Palm Harbor, Florida involve injuries that the defendant did not intend to cause, but was still at fault in causing them (through negligence, for example). In Palm Harbor, Florida, this is not enough to justify the award of punitive damages.

In Palm Harbor, Florida, 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 Palm Harbor, Florida 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 necessary to note that in Palm Harbor, Florida, 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 Palm Harbor, Florida is that punitive damages can be no larger than compensatory damages times ten. This rule is not absolute, of course. Courts in Florida have a good deal of discretion in awarding punitive damages, and will determine them based on the facts of each case. Because of this, punitive damage awards larger than 10 times compensatory damages are sometimes upheld, while much smaller awards have been overturned, because they were deemed excessive in a particular case.

How Can a Palm Harbor, Florida Attorney Help?

In Palm Harbor, Florida, there are a virtually unlimited number of situtations in which punitive damages can be awarded.

If you are located in Palm Harbor, Florida, and are immersed in a case that you think, based on the information conveyed above, that might have punitive damages as an option, you can't be sure what, if anything, you're entitled to from the defendant until you consult with a Palm Harbor, Florida civil litigation attorney

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Life in Palm Harbor

Palm Harbor, Florida is an unincorporated community in Pinellas County. It has a population of about 60,000 people, as of the 2000 Census. It is located on the Gulf of Mexico.

Palm Harbor, Florida is mostly a residential community, but it has several commercial districts, where most of the businesses are located. Each one of these districts has its own unique character. These business districts are fairly pedestrian-friendly, and boast several unique, locally-owned restaurants and retailers, as well as a handful of historic buildings. Palm Harbor is also known for its hilly geography, which is fairly uncommon in relatively flat Florida.

Palm Harbor is a popular tourist destination, owing to its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico. Its warm, subtropical climate makes it popular among residents who prefer that kind of weather, particularly retirees.

If you live in Palm Harbor, Florida, and find yourself in need of legal advice or services, chances are you'll be able to find what you need in the area. Palm Harbor, Florida lawyers practice in a wide variety of legal areas. If you need legal help, a Palm Harbor, Florida attorney is the person to call.

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