Litigation Lawyers in Jefferson County
In Jefferson County, Indiana, civil litigation serves the main purpose of compensating individuals who have been victims of wrongdoing, and not meting out punishment, vengeance, or moral judgment.
There is an exception to this basic rule, however: in certain cases, a court in Jefferson County, Indiana will award damages designed to punish the wrongdoer, and deter others from future wrongdoing. This practice is identified as "punitive damages."
You should be cognizant that courts in Jefferson County, Indiana 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 Jefferson County, Indiana
Typically personal injury cases in Jefferson County, Indiana involve injuries that the defendant did not intend to cause, but was still at fault in causing them (through negligence, for instance). In Jefferson County, Indiana, this is not enough to justify the award of punitive damages.
Punitive damages in Jefferson County, Indiana are only awarded in the most extreme cases. Fraud, theft, assault, battery, and other intentional, immoral acts are grounds for punitive damages. Jefferson County, Indiana 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 Jefferson County, Indiana. 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 Jefferson County, Indiana, 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 Indiana have found much smaller awards to be invalid, and upheld much larger awards.
How Can a Jefferson County, Indiana Attorney Help?
In Jefferson County, Indiana, 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 are located in Jefferson County, Indiana, and are engaged 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 Jefferson County, Indiana civil litigation attorney