Litigation Lawyers in Muscogee County
In Muscogee County, Georgia, 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 Muscogee County, 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 aware that courts in Muscogee County, Georgia 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 Muscogee County, Georgia
A majority of personal injury litigation actions in Muscogee County, Georgia do not involve the possibility of punitive damages, because they normally involve injuries where the defendant is at fault for the harm caused, but did not intend to do any harm. In Muscogee County, Georgia, accidental harm may be enough to award the plaintiff compensatory damages, but it is not enough for punitive damages.
Punitive damages in Muscogee County, Georgia are only awarded in the most extreme cases. Fraud, theft, assault, battery, and other intentional, immoral acts are grounds for punitive damages. Muscogee County, Georgia courts will consider many 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 actions against the actual harm that it caused to the plaintiff, and calculate damages accordingly.
However, in Muscogee County, Georgia, the law places limits on punitive damages. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled many times that punitive damages cannot be grossly disproportionate to the evil nature of the conduct, and the injuries that the defendant suffered. If they are disproportionate, punitive damages might be considered a deprivation of the defendant's right to due process of law.
A good rule of thumb for calculating the upper limit of punitive damages in Muscogee County, Georgia is that punitive damages can be no larger than compensatory damages times ten. This rule is not absolute, of course. Courts in Georgia 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 Muscogee County, Georgia Attorney Help?
In Muscogee County, Georgia, there are a virtually unlimited number of situtations in which punitive damages can be awarded.
If you are located in Muscogee County, Georgia, 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 Muscogee County, Georgia civil litigation attorney