Suing for Punitive Damages in Cumberland

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Litigation Lawyers in Cumberland

In Cumberland, Maryland, 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 Cumberland, Maryland 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.

Courts in Cumberland, Maryland do not grant punitive damages in most cases. The civil litigation system is geared against granting financial windfalls to civil plaintiffs. But, there are rare cases, where the defendant has done something to the plaintiff that is so morally reprehensible, that society's interest in punishing the defendant and deterring similar misconduct outweighs the civil justice system's preference against punitive damages.

Conduct that can give rise to punitive damages in Cumberland, Maryland

The vast majority of personal injury lawsuits in Cumberland, Maryland involve situations in which the defendant did not intend to harm the plaintiff, but did so through carelessness. This is not enough to award punitive damages in Cumberland, Maryland.

In Cumberland, Maryland, 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 Cumberland, Maryland 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.

However, in Cumberland, Maryland, the law places limits on punitive damages. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled several times that punitive damages cannot be grossly disproportionate to the evil nature of the conduct, and the injuries that the defendant suffered. If they are disproportionate, punitive damages might be considered a deprivation of the defendant's right to due process of law.

A good rule of thumb for calculating the upper limit of punitive damages in Cumberland, Maryland is that punitive damages can be no larger than compensatory damages times ten. This rule is not absolute, of course. Courts in Maryland 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 Cumberland, Maryland Attorney Help?

In Cumberland, Maryland, there are a essentially unlimited number of situtations in which punitive damages can be awarded.

If you have been injured in Cumberland, Maryland 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 Cumberland, Maryland.

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Life in Cumberland

Located in the far western corner of Maryland, Cumberland is a small city full of big charm. Cumberland boasts a population of just under 22,000 inhabitants and is located 130 miles from the state capital of Baltimore. Mountains, heavy rainfall, and snow make for four lovely seasons in Cumberland.

On the top of the list for visitors to Cumberland: George Washington Headquarters, a famous location that the city boasts the first president of the United States actually slept. In addition to Washington's sleeping quarters, there are many other historically interesting sites to be explored by visitors and residents alike. Whether looking for an outdoor or indoor activity, Cumberland has it all for those who visit.

There are five local schools in Cumberland. There are also many talented lawyers in Cumberland, Maryland that have years of experience in helping their local clients meet their legal needs. Cumberland lawyers are talented and have practice ranges as broad as the many issues their clients face. Cumberland lawyers are happy to use their legal knowledge to help their clients win their case. Cumberland is a great place to live, visit, and to find a great lawyer.

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