Suing for Punitive Damages in Ellicott City

Find the right Litigation attorney in Ellicott City, MD

Litigation Lawyers in Ellicott City

In Ellicott City, 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 Ellicott City, 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 Ellicott City, 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 Ellicott City, Maryland

The vast majority of personal injury lawsuits in Ellicott City, Maryland involve instances 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 Ellicott City, Maryland.

In Ellicott City, Maryland, punitive damages are not awarded in most cases. They are usually only awarded when the defendant's behavior 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 Ellicott City, 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.

It's essential to know that punitive damages in Ellicott City, Maryland are subject to limits. The Supreme Court of the United States has held, more than once, that punitive damages can't be grossly disproportionate to the actual harm suffered by the plaintiff. Grossly excessive punitive damage awards are unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has held, because they amount to the government taking property from the defendant without due process of law.

In general, punitive damages in Ellicott City, Maryland cannot be more than 10 times larger than the actual damages suffered by the plaintiff. However, this is not an absolute rule, and appeals courts in Maryland have upheld much larger awards, and found much smaller awards to be invalid. It's determined on a case-by-case basis.

How Can a Ellicott City, Maryland Attorney Help?

In Ellicott City, Maryland, 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 are located in Ellicott City, Maryland, and are immersed in a case that you think, based on the information conveyed above, that might have punitive damages as an option, you can't be sure what, if anything, you're entitled to from the defendant until you consult with a Ellicott City, Maryland civil litigation attorney

Talk to a Law Attorney now!

Life in Ellicott City

Ellicott City, Maryland is an unincorporated community in Howard County. It has a population of approximately 57,000 people as of the 2000 Census Ellicott City, Maryland was founded in 1772, by a small group of Quaker missionaries. Chosen for its picturesque natural scenery and abundant natural resources (particularly lumber), the settlement quickly grew into a bustling community. Tourists are generally drawn to the area because of its beautiful natural scenery. However, Ellicott, Maryland is also home to a niche tourist industry: ghost hunting. It is considered by enthusiasts to be one of the most haunted places in the U.S. If you believe in that sort of thing, Ellicott City could be a delightful place to visit. Ellicott City is home to quite a few tourist attractions. In addition to hiking trails, it is home to The Enchanted Forest, an amusement park with a fantasy theme. It is also has a locale Shakespeare company, that regularly puts on productions of the bard's plays. Residents of Ellicott City, and the surrounding area, have access to a wide variety of competent attorneys. Ellicott City, Maryland lawyers are ready to handle just about any case that you are likely to face. Whatever legal issues you're dealing with, an Ellicott City, Maryland lawyer can help.

Clients Rate LegalMatch Attorneys
(click to read reviews)

Howard B.
Howard B.

Business - Litigation

Rye Brook, NY

Mark B.
Mark B.

Business - Litigation

Roseland, NJ

David A.
David A.

Business - Litigation

Walnut Creek, CA

Gotham Light