Litigation Lawyers in Jeffersontown
In Jeffersontown, 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 cases, courts in Jeffersontown, 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 Jeffersontown, 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 Jeffersontown, Kentucky
Typically personal injury cases in Jeffersontown, Kentucky involve injuries that the defendant did not intend to cause, but was still at fault in causing them (through negligence, for example). In Jeffersontown, Kentucky, this is not enough to justify the award of punitive damages.
Punitive Damages in Jeffersontown, Kentucky are only awarded in cases where the behavior of the plaintiff was intentional and highly immoral, or extremely reckless. In Jeffersontown, 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 Jeffersontown, 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.
A good rule of thumb for calculating the upper limit of punitive damages in Jeffersontown, Kentucky is that punitive damages can be no larger than compensatory damages times ten. This rule is not absolute, of course. Courts in Kentucky have a good deal of discretion in awarding punitive damages, and will determine them based on the facts of each case. Because of this, punitive damage awards larger than 10 times compensatory damages are sometimes upheld, while much smaller awards have been overturned, because they were deemed excessive in a particular case.
How Can a Jeffersontown, Kentucky Attorney Help?
Jeffersontown, Kentucky's courts have wide discretion in awarding punitive damages. Accordingly, it is unrealistic to comprehensively discuss all the situations in which punitive damages can arise.
If you are engaged in a case in Jeffersontown, Kentucky where punitive damages are a possibility, a very large amount of money could be at stake, whether you are the plaintiff or defendant. You should not hesitate to speak with a civil litigation attorney in Jeffersontown, Kentucky