Litigation Lawyers in Newnan
In Newnan, 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 Newnan, 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 Newnan, 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 Newnan, Georgia
A majority of personal injury litigation actions in Newnan, Georgia do not involve the possibility of punitive damages, because they typically involve injuries where the defendant is at fault for the harm caused, but did not intend to do any harm. In Newnan, Georgia, accidental harm may be enough to award the plaintiff compensatory damages, but it is not enough for punitive damages.
Punitive damages in Newnan, Georgia are only awarded in the most extreme cases. Fraud, theft, assault, battery, and other intentional, immoral acts are grounds for punitive damages. Newnan, Georgia courts will consider various factors in considering whether or not to award punitive damages. For instance, the court might employ a sliding scale that weighs the immorality of the defendant's behavior against the actual harm that it caused to the plaintiff, and calculate damages accordingly.
You should be cognizant of the fact that there are some pretty severe limits on punitive damages in Newnan, 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 considerable amounts of property.
Usually, in Newnan, Georgia, 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, nonetheless, and is applied on a case-by-case basis. Courts in Georgia have found much smaller awards to be invalid, and upheld much larger awards.
How Can a Newnan, Georgia Attorney Help?
In Newnan, Georgia, there are a basically unlimited number of situtations in which punitive damages can be awarded.
If you are engaged in a case in Newnan, Georgia that you believe might entitle you to punitive damages, a lot of money could be at stake. Thus, if you want to pursue your legal remedies, you should see a Newnan, Georgia civil litigation attorney as soon as possible.