Litigation Lawyers in Jefferson County
In Jefferson County, 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 circumstances, courts in Jefferson County, 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 critical to note that courts in Jefferson County, 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 Jefferson County, Kentucky
Mostly personal injury cases in Jefferson County, Kentucky involve injuries that the defendant did not intend to cause, but was still at fault in causing them (through negligence, for example). In Jefferson County, Kentucky, this is not enough to justify the award of punitive damages.
Punitive Damages in Jefferson County, Kentucky are only awarded in cases where the conduct of the plaintiff was intentional and highly immoral, or extremely reckless. In Jefferson County, Kentucky, 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.
There are limits on punitive damages in Jefferson County, Kentucky. 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.
In Jefferson County, Kentucky, 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 general rule of thumb, and is not completely rigid. In Kentucky, 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 particular punitive damage award will depend heavily on the facts of each case.
How Can a Jefferson County, Kentucky Attorney Help?
The law of Jefferson County, Kentucky doesn't lay out many strict conditions which are required before punitive damages can be granted. Instead, it largely leaves it to the discretion of the courts. So, there are several situations where they might be awarded.
If you live in Jefferson County, Kentucky and are involved in a case that you believe carries the possibility of a punitive damage award, you may be entitled to a large amount of money from the person or company that injured you. To know for sure, you should speak with a civil litigation attorney in Jefferson County, Kentucky.