Litigation Lawyers in Deridder
In Deridder, Louisiana, 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 Deridder, Louisiana 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.
You should be aware that courts in Deridder, Louisiana 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 Deridder, Louisiana
Typically personal injury cases in Deridder, Louisiana involve injuries that the defendant did not intend to cause, but was still at fault in causing them (through negligence, for example). In Deridder, Louisiana, this is not enough to justify the award of punitive damages.
Punitive damages in Deridder, Louisiana are only awarded in the most extreme cases. Fraud, theft, assault, battery, and other intentional, immoral acts are grounds for punitive damages. Deridder, Louisiana courts will consider various factors in considering whether or not to award punitive damages. For example, the court might employ a sliding scale that weighs the immorality of the defendant's behavior against the actual harm that it caused to the plaintiff, and calculate damages accordingly.
It's crucial to note that in Deridder, Louisiana, punitive damages are not unlimited. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that punitive damages cannot be hugely disproportionate to the amount awarded to compensate the plaintiff for the actual injuries they suffered. If the punitive damages are extremely excessive, an appeals court might rule that they amount to a deprivation of property without due process of law, or a de facto criminal punishment, without affording the defendant the protections available in criminal cases.
A good rule of thumb for calculating the upper limit of punitive damages in Deridder, Louisiana is that punitive damages can be no larger than compensatory damages times ten. This rule is not absolute, of course. Courts in Louisiana 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 Deridder, Louisiana Attorney Help?
In Deridder, Louisiana, judges and juries have a good deal of leeway in deciding if they want to grant punitive damages, so there are a nearly-unlimited number of cases that can lead to a punitive damage award.
If you have been hurt in Deridder, Louisiana 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 Deridder, Louisiana.