Litigation Lawyers in Sellersburg
In Sellersburg, 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 Sellersburg, 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 cognizant that courts in Sellersburg, 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 Sellersburg, Indiana
A majority of personal injury litigation actions in Sellersburg, Indiana do not involve the possibility of punitive damages, because they normally involve injuries where the defendant is at fault for the harm caused, but did not intend to do any harm. In Sellersburg, Indiana, accidental harm may be enough to award the plaintiff compensatory damages, but it is not enough for punitive damages.
In Sellersburg, Indiana, punitive damages are not awarded in most cases. They are usually only awarded when the defendant's behavior was so reckless or deplorable that punishment of the defendant is warranted. Acts such as battery, fraud, and defamation (in some cases) are usually considered sufficient in Sellersburg, Indiana to justify punitive damages. In deciding whether to award punitive damages, and how much to award, the two most important factors the court looks at will be the level of immorality of the act, as well as the actual harm that the plaintiff suffered as a result of the defendant's conduct.
There are limits on punitive damages in Sellersburg, 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 Sellersburg, 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 Sellersburg, Indiana Attorney Help?
In Sellersburg, 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 are immersed in a case in Sellersburg, Indiana that you believe might entitle you to punitive damages, a lot of money could be at stake. Therefore, if you want to pursue your legal remedies, you should see a Sellersburg, Indiana civil litigation attorney as soon as possible.