Litigation Lawyers in Lake County
In Lake County, Indiana, civil litigation serves the primary purpose of compensating people who have been victims of wrongdoing, and not meting out punishment, vengeance, or moral judgment.
There is an exception to this general rule, however: in some cases, a court in Lake County, Indiana will award damages designed to punish the wrongdoer, and deter others from future wrongdoing. This practice is recognized as "punitive damages."
You should be aware that courts in Lake County, Indiana 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 Lake County, Indiana
Generally personal injury cases in Lake County, Indiana involve injuries that the defendant did not intend to cause, but was still at fault in causing them (through negligence, for example). In Lake County, Indiana, this is not enough to justify the award of punitive damages.
Punitive Damages in Lake County, Indiana are only awarded in cases where the actions of the plaintiff was intentional and highly immoral, or extremely reckless. In Lake County, Indiana, 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.
There are limits on punitive damages in Lake County, Indiana. 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.
Typically, in Lake 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, however, 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 Lake County, Indiana Attorney Help?
In Lake County, Indiana, 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 situations that can lead to a punitive damage award.
If you live in Lake County, Indiana and are immersed 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 harmed you. To know for sure, you should speak with a civil litigation attorney in Lake County, Indiana.