Litigation Lawyers in South St. Paul
In South St. Paul, Minnesota, 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 South St. Paul, Minnesota, 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. Instead, these "punitive damages," as they are called, are meant to punish and deter wrongdoing.
It's important to note that courts in South St. Paul, Minnesota prefer not to grant punitive damages. This is because the civil justice system is designed mainly to compensate the victims of wrongdoing. Nonetheless, there are some cases where the defendant's conduct was so immoral and evil that civil courts have an interest in making them pay further damages, going above and beyond what's needed to compensate the victim, in order to serve as a deterrent.
Conduct that can give rise to punitive damages in South St. Paul, Minnesota
The vast majority of personal injury lawsuits in South St. Paul, Minnesota 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 South St. Paul, Minnesota.
Punitive damages in South St. Paul, Minnesota are not authorized in many cases. They are only awarded when the defendant's conduct was so deplorable and deliberate (but not necessarily criminal) that punishment is warranted. Fraud, battery, conversion (theft) and other intentional, insidious acts are usually required before punitive damages in South St. Paul, Minnesota will be considered. Furthermore, in deciding how much to award in punitive damages, a court will consider 2 main factors: the insidious nature of the defendant's conduct, and the actual harm that the plaintiff suffered as a result.
It's important to note that in South St. Paul, Minnesota, punitive damages are not unlimited. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that punitive damages cannot be hugely disproportionate to the amount awarded to compensate the plaintiff for the actual injuries they suffered. If the punitive damages are extremely excessive, an appeals court might rule that they amount to a deprivation of property without due process of law, or a de facto criminal punishment, without affording the defendant the protections available in criminal cases.
Generally, in South St. Paul, Minnesota, punitive damage awards that exceed the actual damages (those awarded to directly compensate the plaintiff) by a factor of 10. This is not an absolute rule, nonetheless, and is applied on a case-by-case basis. Courts in Minnesota have found much smaller awards to be invalid, and upheld much larger awards.
How Can a South St. Paul, Minnesota Attorney Help?
In South St. Paul, Minnesota, there are a practically unlimited number of situtations in which punitive damages can be awarded.
If you live in South St. Paul, Minnesota and are involved in a case that you believe carries the possibility of a punitive damage award, you may be entitled to a large amount of funds from the person or company that injured you. To know for sure, you should speak with a civil litigation attorney in South St. Paul, Minnesota.