Litigation Lawyers in Harper Woods
In Harper 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 Harper 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. Rather, these "punitive damages," as they are called, are meant to punish and deter wrongdoing.
Punitive Damages in Harper Woods, Michigan are not awarded lightly, because the civil justice system typically 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 Harper Woods, Michigan
Generally personal injury cases in Harper 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 Harper Woods, Michigan, this is not enough to justify the award of punitive damages.
Punitive Damages in Harper Woods, Michigan are only awarded in cases where the actions of the plaintiff was intentional and highly immoral, or extremely reckless. In Harper 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.
It's important to know that punitive damages in Harper Woods, Michigan 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 Harper Woods, Michigan, punitive damage awards are usually (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 Michigan, 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 Harper Woods, Michigan Attorney Help?
In Harper Woods, Michigan, there are an essentially unlimited number of situtations in which punitive damages can be awarded.
If you have been harmed in Harper Woods, Michigan 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 Harper Woods, Michigan.