Litigation Lawyers in Hinesville
In Hinesville, Georgia, 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 Hinesville, Georgia 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.
You should be cognizant that courts in Hinesville, Georgia 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 Hinesville, Georgia
Generally personal injury cases in Hinesville, Georgia involve injuries that the defendant did not intend to cause, but was still at fault in causing them (through negligence, for instance). In Hinesville, Georgia, this is not enough to justify the award of punitive damages.
Punitive Damages in Hinesville, Georgia are only awarded in cases where the actions of the plaintiff was intentional and highly immoral, or extremely reckless. In Hinesville, Georgia, 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.
You should be cognizant of the fact that there are some pretty severe limits on punitive damages in Hinesville, Georgia. The U.S. Supreme Court has found that there are constitutional limits on punitive damage awards. Punitive damages can't be too disproportionate to the actual damages that the plaintiff has suffered. Appeals courts have found that excessive punitive damage awards violate the defendant's right to due process, by depriving them of massive amounts of property.
In general, punitive damages in Hinesville, Georgia cannot be more than 10 times larger than the actual damages sustained by the plaintiff. Nonetheless, this is not an absolute rule, and appeals courts in Georgia have upheld much larger awards, and found much smaller awards to be invalid. It's decided on a case-by-case basis.
How Can a Hinesville, Georgia Attorney Help?
In Hinesville, Georgia, 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 have been harmed in Hinesville, Georgia 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 Hinesville, Georgia.