Litigation Lawyers in Breckenridge Hills
In Breckenridge Hills, 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 Breckenridge Hills, 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. Alternatively, these "punitive damages," as they are called, are meant to punish and deter wrongdoing.
It's important to note that courts in Breckenridge Hills, 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 Breckenridge Hills, Missouri
A majority of personal injury litigation actions in Breckenridge Hills, Missouri do not involve the possibility of punitive damages, because they typically involve injuries where the defendant is at fault for the harm caused, but did not intend to do any harm. In Breckenridge Hills, Missouri, accidental harm may be enough to award the plaintiff compensatory damages, but it is not enough for punitive damages.
Punitive damages in Breckenridge Hills, Missouri are only awarded in the most extreme cases. Fraud, theft, assault, battery, and other intentional, immoral acts are grounds for punitive damages. Breckenridge Hills, Missouri courts will consider various factors in considering whether or not to award punitive damages. For instance, the court might employ a sliding scale that weighs the immorality of the defendant's behavior against the actual harm that it caused to the plaintiff, and calculate damages accordingly.
You should be cognizant of the fact that there are some pretty severe limits on punitive damages in Breckenridge Hills, Missouri. 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.
Usually, in Breckenridge Hills, 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 Breckenridge Hills, Missouri Attorney Help?
In Breckenridge Hills, Missouri, there are a large variety of situations in which punitive damages are appropriate, because the decision to grant punitive damages is largely up to the discretion of the jury.
If you are located in Breckenridge Hills, Missouri, and are engaged 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 Breckenridge Hills, Missouri civil litigation attorney