Litigation Lawyers in Grosse Pointe Woods
In Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan, civil litigation serves the primary purpose of compensating people who have been victims of wrongdoing, and not meting out punishment, vengeance, or moral judgment.
Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. In Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan, courts will, in relatively rare cases, require defendants to pay plaintiffs sums of money which aren't calculated by the actual harm and costs the plaintiff has incurred. Alternatively, these "punitive damages," as they are called, are meant to punish and deter wrongdoing.
Punitive Damages in Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan 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 Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan
Typically personal injury cases in Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan involve injuries that the defendant did not intend to cause, but was still at fault in causing them (through negligence, for example). In Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan, this is not enough to justify the award of punitive damages.
Punitive Damages in Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan are only awarded in cases where the behavior of the plaintiff was intentional and highly immoral, or extremely reckless. In Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan, torts such as fraud, gross negligence, and theft are sufficient to award punitive damages. Courts consider numerous factors when deciding whether or not punitive damages are warranted. Courts will look at the nature of the act, as well as the defendant's intent in performing the act. This will be weighed, on a sliding scale, against the actual harm that the defendant's conduct caused to the plaintiff.
You should be aware of the fact that there are some pretty severe limits on punitive damages in Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan. The U.S. Supreme Court has found that there are constitutional limits on punitive damage awards. Punitive damages can't be too disproportionate to the actual damages that the plaintiff has suffered. Appeals courts have found that excessive punitive damage awards violate the defendant's right to due process, by depriving them of considerable amounts of property.
A good rule of thumb for calculating the upper limit of punitive damages in Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan is that punitive damages can be no larger than compensatory damages times ten. This rule is not absolute, of course. Courts in Michigan 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 Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan Attorney Help?
Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan'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 live in Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan and are engaged in a case that you believe carries the possibility of a punitive damage award, you may be entitled to a large amount of money from the person or company that hurt you. To know for sure, you should speak with a civil litigation attorney in Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan.