Litigation Lawyers in Grandview
The civil litigation system in Grandview, Missouri is designed to provide compensation for persons who are injured because of the unlawful conduct of others. It is not much concerned with punishing or deterring wrongdoers.
There is an exception to this basic rule, however: in certain cases, a court in Grandview, Missouri will award damages designed to punish the wrongdoer, and deter others from future wrongdoing. This practice is recognized as "punitive damages."
In Grandview, Missouri, punitive damages are not awarded in many cases. This is because the civil litigation system highly disfavors giving money to plaintiffs in amounts disproportionate to the injuries they have suffered. Nonetheless, in some cases, the conduct of the defendant is so reprehensible, that simply punishing the defendant is a worthy goal, and this interest outweighs the preference against giving civil plaintiffs financial windfalls.
Conduct that can give rise to punitive damages in Grandview, Missouri
A majority of personal injury litigation actions in Grandview, Missouri 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 Grandview, Missouri, accidental harm may be enough to award the plaintiff compensatory damages, but it is not enough for punitive damages.
In Grandview, Missouri, 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 Grandview, Missouri 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.
It's important to know that punitive damages in Grandview, Missouri 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 sustained by the plaintiff. Grossly excessive punitive damage awards are unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has held, because they amount to the government acquiring property from the defendant without due process of law.
In general, punitive damages in Grandview, Missouri cannot be more than 10 times larger than the actual damages sustained by the plaintiff. Nonetheless, this is not an absolute rule, and appeals courts in Missouri have upheld much larger awards, and found much smaller awards to be invalid. It's decided on a case-by-case basis.
How Can a Grandview, Missouri Attorney Help?
Grandview, Missouri's courts have wide discretion in awarding punitive damages. Therefore, it is impractical to comprehensively discuss all the situations in which punitive damages can arise.
If you live in Grandview, Missouri and are immersed 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 harmed you. To know for sure, you should speak with a civil litigation attorney in Grandview, Missouri.