Litigation Lawyers in Osawatomie
In Osawatomie, Kansas, 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 a major exception to this rule, however. In limited circumstances, courts in Osawatomie, Kansas will order a defendant to pay the plaintiff damages which are not directly tied to any harm sustained by the plaintiff. Rather, these damages, which are known as "punitive damages", are meant to punish the wrongdoer, and serve as a deterrent.
Punitive Damages in Osawatomie, Kansas are not awarded easily, because the civil justice system generally disfavors giving plaintiffs financial windfalls not directly related to compensating them for their injuries. They are usually only awarded when the conduct of the defendant is morally reprehensible, and far worse than simple carelessness.
Conduct that can give rise to punitive damages in Osawatomie, Kansas
Personal injury litigation doesn't usually carry with it the possibility of punitive damages in Osawatomie, 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 Osawatomie, Kansas.
Punitive Damages in Osawatomie, Kansas are only awarded in cases where the conduct of the plaintiff was intentional and highly immoral, or extremely reckless. In Osawatomie, Kansas, 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 essential to know that punitive damages in Osawatomie, 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 sustained by the plaintiff. Grossly excessive punitive damage awards are unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has held, because they amount to the government acquiring property from the defendant without due process of law.
In Osawatomie, Kansas, punitive damage awards are typically (but not always) capped at 10 times the amount awarded in compensatory damages. Remember, however, that this is just a basic rule of thumb, and is not completely rigid. In Kansas, appeals courts have a good deal of discretion in deciding if a punitive damage award is valid or invalid. Much larger awards have been upheld, and smaller awards have been overturned. The validity of a specific punitive damage award will depend heavily on the facts of each case.
How Can a Osawatomie, Kansas Attorney Help?
Osawatomie, Kansas's courts have wide discretion in awarding punitive damages. Therefore, it is impossible to comprehensively discuss all the situations in which punitive damages can arise.
If you are involved in a case in Osawatomie, Kansas that you believe might entitle you to punitive damages, a lot of money could be at stake. So, if you want to pursue your legal remedies, you should see an Osawatomie, Kansas civil litigation attorney as soon as possible.