Litigation Lawyers in Bellefontaine Neighbors
In Bellefontaine Neighbors, Missouri, 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 Bellefontaine Neighbors, Missouri, 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 crucial to note that courts in Bellefontaine Neighbors, Missouri 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 Bellefontaine Neighbors, Missouri
Mostly personal injury cases in Bellefontaine Neighbors, Missouri involve injuries that the defendant did not intend to cause, but was still at fault in causing them (through negligence, for instance). In Bellefontaine Neighbors, Missouri, this is not enough to justify the award of punitive damages.
Punitive damages in Bellefontaine Neighbors, Missouri 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 Bellefontaine Neighbors, Missouri 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 crucial to note that in Bellefontaine Neighbors, Missouri, 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 Bellefontaine Neighbors, Missouri, 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 Missouri have found much smaller awards to be invalid, and upheld much larger awards.
How Can a Bellefontaine Neighbors, Missouri Attorney Help?
In Bellefontaine Neighbors, Missouri, there are a basically unlimited number of situtations in which punitive damages can be awarded.
If you are located in Bellefontaine Neighbors, Missouri, and are involved 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 Bellefontaine Neighbors, Missouri civil litigation attorney