Suing for Punitive Damages in West Palm Beach

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Litigation Lawyers in West Palm Beach

In West Palm Beach, 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 West Palm Beach, 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 West Palm Beach, 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 West Palm Beach, Florida

Typically personal injury cases in West Palm Beach, Florida do not involve punitive damages, because the defendant did not intend to cause harm, or act with some other form of malice. Alternatively, 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 West Palm Beach, Florida.

In West Palm Beach, Florida, punitive damages are not awarded in most cases. They are normally only awarded when the defendant's actions 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 West Palm Beach, 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.

There are limits on punitive damages in West Palm Beach, 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.

Usually, in West Palm Beach, Florida, 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 Florida have found much smaller awards to be invalid, and upheld much larger awards.

How Can a West Palm Beach, Florida Attorney Help?

In West Palm Beach, Florida, 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 cases that can lead to a punitive damage award.

If you live in West Palm Beach, Florida 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 West Palm Beach, Florida.

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Life in West Palm Beach

West Palm Beach is a popular area for residents and tourists. It is located in Palm Beach County, which is home to about 1.4 million people. West Palm Beach is in the Southern Florida region.

Some popular sites include the Carefree Theatre, Palm Beach Zoo, Rapids Water Park, South Florida Science Museum, Lion County Safari, International Polo Hall of Fame, Trump International Golf Club, Meyer Amphitheater, and Palm Beach County Convention Center. West Palm Beach is also known for its festivals, such as SunFest, the Palm Beach International Film Festival, and the Winter Equestrian Festival.

Some of West Palm Beach's top employers include Florida Public Utilities, ION Media Networks, Ocwen, Pratt Whitney Rocketdyne, Sikorsky Aircraft, General Dynamics, Cemex, and CSC. West Palm Beach is also filled with many law firms. Thus, the area has many top-notch attorneys capable of handling any and every legal inquiry.

All in all, West Palm Beach is a great place to live and/or visit!

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