Suing for Punitive Damages in Somerville

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Litigation Lawyers in Somerville

In Somerville, Massachusetts, civil litigation serves the primary purpose of compensating people who have been victims of wrongdoing, and not meting out punishment, vengeance, or moral judgment.

This general principle is subject to an important exception, however. There are cases where a judge in Somerville, Massachusetts will order a defendant to pay the plaintiff a sum of money which is not calculated based on actual harm the plaintiff has suffered. These are called "punitive damages" and serve the purpose of punishing and deterring wrongdoing.

Punitive Damages in Somerville, Massachusetts are not awarded lightly, because the civil justice system usually 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 Somerville, Massachusetts

Typically personal injury cases in Somerville, Massachusetts do not involve punitive damages, because the defendant did not intend to cause harm, or act with some other form of malice. Alternatively, most of these cases involve situations where the defendant acted carelessly, but did not actually intend to cause harm. This is enough to award compensatory damages, but it is far from sufficient to award punitive damages in Somerville, Massachusetts.

In Somerville, Massachusetts, punitive damages are only awarded in extreme cases. Civil wrongs such as fraud, conversion (theft), battery, and other intentional, depraved acts are sufficient to award punitive damages. In deciding whether or not to award punitive damages, and how much money to award, courts in Somerville, Massachusetts will consider many different factors. Typically, they employ a sliding scale, weighing the nature of the conduct and the actual harm that the conduct caused. The more immoral the conduct, and/or the more harm caused, the more likely a court is to award punitive damages.

It's crucial to note that in Somerville, Massachusetts, 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.

In Somerville, Massachusetts, punitive damage awards are normally (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 Massachusetts, 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 Somerville, Massachusetts Attorney Help?

Somerville, Massachusetts'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 Somerville, Massachusetts 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 Somerville, Massachusetts

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Life in Somerville

Located in Middlesex County, Sommerville, Massachusetts is just two miles north from the state capital of Boston. Sommerville has a population of just under 80,000 residents and is listed as the most densely populated communities in all of New England.

Sommerville was first settled in 1630 and is now considered to be one of the most ethnically diverse communities in all of the United States, with many recent immigrants from Brazil, El Salvador, and Haiti. With over fifty spoken languages used in Somerville schools and 1/3 of the city population born i another country, it is no wonder Somerville has such an ethnic distinction.

Arts and culture is another noteworthy aspect of the New England city. Next to New York, Somerville houses more artists per capita than any other city. The city hosts many artistic events such as the Somerville Arts Council, Brickbottom Artist Association, and the ArtBeat Festival.

Diversity and culture make for the perfect location for many of New England's top lawyers to set up show. Somerville lawyers are skilled in a rage of specialties and able to help their neighbor with any legal issue he or she may encounter. There is a thriving legal community in Sommerville, many coming from top law schools located in Boston.

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