Suing for Punitive Damages in Worcester

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Litigation Lawyers in Worcester

In Worcester, 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 Worcester, 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 Worcester, Massachusetts are not awarded lightly, because the civil justice system generally 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 Worcester, Massachusetts

Mostly personal injury cases in Worcester, Massachusetts do not involve punitive damages, because the defendant did not intend to cause harm, or act with some other form of malice. Instead, 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 Worcester, Massachusetts.

In Worcester, Massachusetts, punitive damages are not awarded in most cases. They are typically only awarded when the defendant's conduct was so reckless or deplorable that punishment of the defendant is warranted. Acts such as battery, fraud, and defamation (in some cases) are usually considered sufficient in Worcester, Massachusetts to justify punitive damages. In deciding whether to award punitive damages, and how much to award, the two most important factors the court looks at will be the level of immorality of the act, as well as the actual harm that the plaintiff suffered as a result of the defendant's conduct.

There are limits on punitive damages in Worcester, Massachusetts. 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 Worcester, Massachusetts is that punitive damages can be no larger than compensatory damages times ten. This rule is not absolute, of course. Courts in Massachusetts 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 Worcester, Massachusetts Attorney Help?

In Worcester, Massachusetts, 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 injured in Worcester, Massachusetts 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 Worcester, Massachusetts.

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Life in Worcester

The City of Worchester is the seat of Worchester County, Massachusetts and home to 190,000 residents. As the 2nd largest city in New England after Boston, Worchester is known as the "Heart of the Commonwealth." Consequently, the Worcester City Seal is emblazoned with a heart.

The Worchester City Seal is also appropriate because there are a wide range of health-related businesses and schools in town. UMass Memorial Health Care, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Saint Vincent Hospital, Hanover Insurance, and the Fallon Clinic round out 5 of the top 8 employers in Worchester.

Other businesses, like Polar Beverages who operates two bottling facilities in Worcester, make use of the local staff of lawyers. Worcester lawyers consult clients on a wide range of cases.

Worcester has an abundance of Victorian era mill architecture like at the Jesuit College of the Holy Cross. The college was founded in 1843 and is one of the oldest Roman Catholic colleges in the United States and the oldest in all of New England. Worcester has a number of other universities including Clark University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Becker College, Assumption College, and the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Heal Sciences that bring a lot of students and tourists to the town.

Additionally, the Worcester Art Museum has famous works by the likes of Rembrandt, Renoir, Gauguin, Kandinsky, and Jackson Pollock on display. The Higgins Armory Museum is an excellent example of Art Deco steel buildings and is the only museum in the Northern Hemisphere dedicated to arms and armor.

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