Litigation Lawyers in Madison
In Madison, 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 Madison, Indiana will award damages designed to punish the wrongdoer, and deter others from future wrongdoing. This practice is known as "punitive damages."
You should be aware that courts in Madison, 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 Madison, Indiana
Mostly personal injury cases in Madison, Indiana involve injuries that the defendant did not intend to cause, but was still at fault in causing them (through negligence, for example). In Madison, Indiana, this is not enough to justify the award of punitive damages.
Punitive Damages in Madison, Indiana are only awarded in cases where the conduct of the plaintiff was intentional and highly immoral, or extremely reckless. In Madison, 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.
It's crucial to know that punitive damages in Madison, Indiana are subject to limits. The Supreme Court of the United States has held, more than once, that punitive damages can't be grossly disproportionate to the actual harm suffered by the plaintiff. Grossly excessive punitive damage awards are unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has held, because they amount to the government taking property from the defendant without due process of law.
In general, punitive damages in Madison, Indiana cannot be more than 10 times larger than the actual damages suffered by the plaintiff. However, this is not an absolute rule, and appeals courts in Indiana have upheld much larger awards, and found much smaller awards to be invalid. It's determined on a case-by-case basis.
How Can a Madison, Indiana Attorney Help?
Madison, Indiana's courts have wide discretion in awarding punitive damages. Accordingly, it is impossible to comprehensively discuss all the situations in which punitive damages can arise.
If you are located in Madison, Indiana, and are involved 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 Madison, Indiana civil litigation attorney