Litigation Lawyers in Bel Aire
In Bel Aire, Kansas, 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 Bel Aire, Kansas 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 Bel Aire, Kansas 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 Bel Aire, Kansas
Personal injury litigation doesn't usually carry with it the possibility of punitive damages in Bel Aire, Kansas, because mostly personal injury cases stem from harm that was caused accidentally, not deliberately. Accidental harm is not enough to warrant an award of punitive damages in Bel Aire, Kansas.
In Bel Aire, Kansas, punitive damages are only awarded in extreme circumstances. Civil wrongs such as fraud, conversion (theft), battery, and other intentional, depraved acts are sufficient to award punitive damages. In deciding whether or not to award punitive damages, and how much money to award, courts in Bel Aire, Kansas will consider many different factors. Usually, they employ a sliding scale, weighing the nature of the conduct and the actual harm that the conduct caused. The more immoral the conduct, and/or the more harm caused, the more likely a court is to award punitive damages.
It's critical to know that punitive damages in Bel Aire, Kansas 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.
Punitive damages in Bel Aire, Kansas usually cannot exceed 10 times the amount of actual damages suffered by the plaintiff. However, this is just a guideline, and not a strict rule. Courts in Kansas have found larger punitive damage awards to be perfectly valid, and smaller ones to be invalid. This will be highly dependent on the facts of each case.
How Can a Bel Aire, Kansas Attorney Help?
In Bel Aire, Kansas, there are an essentially unlimited number of situtations in which punitive damages can be awarded.
If you have been injured in Bel Aire, Kansas and you think punitive damages might be justified, a large amount of money might be at stake. For that reason, you should not hesitate to consult a civil litigation attorney in Bel Aire, Kansas.