Litigation Lawyers in Lawrenceburg
In Lawrenceburg, 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 Lawrenceburg, 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 aware that courts in Lawrenceburg, 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 Lawrenceburg, Indiana
Typically personal injury cases in Lawrenceburg, Indiana involve injuries that the defendant did not intend to cause, but was still at fault in causing them (through negligence, for example). In Lawrenceburg, Indiana, this is not enough to justify the award of punitive damages.
Punitive Damages in Lawrenceburg, Indiana are only awarded in cases where the behavior of the plaintiff was intentional and highly immoral, or extremely reckless. In Lawrenceburg, 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 Lawrenceburg, 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.
A good rule of thumb for calculating the upper limit of punitive damages in Lawrenceburg, Indiana is that punitive damages can be no larger than compensatory damages times ten. This rule is not absolute, of course. Courts in Indiana 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 Lawrenceburg, Indiana Attorney Help?
In Lawrenceburg, Indiana, there are a large number of cases 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 Lawrenceburg, 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 Lawrenceburg, Indiana civil litigation attorney