Litigation Lawyers in Erlanger
In Erlanger, Kentucky, 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 a major exception to this rule, however. In limited situations, courts in Erlanger, Kentucky will order a defendant to pay the plaintiff damages which are not directly tied to any harm suffered by the plaintiff. Rather, these damages, which are known as "punitive damages", are meant to punish the wrongdoer, and serve as a deterrent.
It's essential to note that courts in Erlanger, Kentucky prefer not to grant punitive damages. This is because the civil justice system is designed primarily to compensate the victims of wrongdoing. However, there are some cases where the defendant's conduct was so immoral and evil that civil courts have an interest in making them pay additional damages, going above and beyond what's needed to compensate the victim, in order to serve as a deterrent.
Conduct that can give rise to punitive damages in Erlanger, Kentucky
The vast majority of personal injury lawsuits in Erlanger, Kentucky involve instances in which the defendant did not intend to harm the plaintiff, but did so through carelessness. This is not enough to award punitive damages in Erlanger, Kentucky.
Punitive damages in Erlanger, Kentucky are not granted in many cases. They are only awarded when the defendant's actions was so deplorable and deliberate (but not necessarily criminal) that punishment is warranted. Fraud, battery, conversion (theft) and other intentional, insidious acts are usually required before punitive damages in Erlanger, Kentucky will be considered. Additionally, in deciding how much to award in punitive damages, a court will consider 2 main factors: the insidious nature of the defendant's conduct, and the actual harm that the plaintiff suffered as a result.
However, in Erlanger, Kentucky, the law places limits on punitive damages. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled several times that punitive damages cannot be grossly disproportionate to the evil nature of the conduct, and the injuries that the defendant suffered. If they are disproportionate, punitive damages might be considered a deprivation of the defendant's right to due process of law.
In general, punitive damages in Erlanger, Kentucky 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 Kentucky 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 Erlanger, Kentucky Attorney Help?
In Erlanger, Kentucky, 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 have been harmed in Erlanger, Kentucky 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 Erlanger, Kentucky.