Litigation Lawyers in Hinds County
The civil litigation system in Hinds County, Mississippi is designed to provide compensation for individuals 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 general rule, however: in some cases, a court in Hinds County, Mississippi will award damages designed to punish the wrongdoer, and deter others from future wrongdoing. This practice is identified as "punitive damages."
It's essential to note that courts in Hinds County, Mississippi prefer not to grant punitive damages. This is because the civil justice system is designed primarily to compensate the victims of wrongdoing. However, there are some cases where the defendant's conduct was so immoral and evil that civil courts have an interest in making them pay additional 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 Hinds County, Mississippi
A majority of personal injury litigation actions in Hinds County, Mississippi 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 Hinds County, Mississippi, accidental harm may be enough to award the plaintiff compensatory damages, but it is not enough for punitive damages.
In Hinds County, Mississippi, punitive damages are only awarded in extreme cases. Civil wrongs such as fraud, conversion (theft), battery, and other intentional, depraved acts are sufficient to award punitive damages. In deciding whether or not to award punitive damages, and how much money to award, courts in Hinds County, Mississippi will consider many different factors. Typically, they employ a sliding scale, weighing the nature of the conduct and the actual harm that the conduct caused. The more immoral the conduct, and/or the more harm caused, the more likely a court is to award punitive damages.
There are limits on punitive damages in Hinds County, Mississippi. The Supreme Court has held that punitive damage awards which are grossly disproportionate to the immorality of the conduct, and the harm that it caused, are an unconstitutional deprivation of property without due process of law.
A good rule of thumb for calculating the upper limit of punitive damages in Hinds County, Mississippi is that punitive damages can be no larger than compensatory damages times ten. This rule is not absolute, of course. Courts in Mississippi have a good deal of discretion in awarding punitive damages, and will determine them based on the facts of each case. Because of this, punitive damage awards larger than 10 times compensatory damages are sometimes upheld, while much smaller awards have been overturned, because they were deemed excessive in a particular case.
How Can a Hinds County, Mississippi Attorney Help?
In Hinds County, Mississippi, there are a large number of cases in which punitive damages are appropriate, because the decision to grant punitive damages is largely up to the discretion of the jury.
If you have been hurt in Hinds County, Mississippi and you think punitive damages might be justified, a large amount of money might be at stake. For that reason, you should not hesitate to consult a civil litigation attorney in Hinds County, Mississippi.