Litigation Lawyers in Muskegon
In Muskegon, Michigan, civil litigation serves the main purpose of compensating individuals who have been victims of wrongdoing, and not meting out punishment, vengeance, or moral judgment.
Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. In Muskegon, Michigan, courts will, in fairly 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 Muskegon, Michigan are not awarded easily, 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 Muskegon, Michigan
A majority of personal injury litigation actions in Muskegon, Michigan do not involve the possibility of punitive damages, because they normally involve injuries where the defendant is at fault for the harm caused, but did not intend to do any harm. In Muskegon, Michigan, accidental harm may be enough to award the plaintiff compensatory damages, but it is not enough for punitive damages.
In Muskegon, Michigan, 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 Muskegon, Michigan 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.
Nonetheless, in Muskegon, Michigan, the law places limits on punitive damages. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled various 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 Muskegon, 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 decide them based on the facts of each case. Because of this, punitive damage awards larger than 10 times compensatory damages are occasionally upheld, while much smaller awards have been overturned, because they were deemed excessive in a certain case.
How Can a Muskegon, Michigan Attorney Help?
In Muskegon, Michigan, there are a practically unlimited number of situtations in which punitive damages can be awarded.
If you have been harmed in Muskegon, Michigan and you think punitive damages might be justified, a large amount of money might be at stake. For that reason, you should not delay to consult a civil litigation attorney in Muskegon, Michigan.