Litigation Lawyers in North Wilkesboro
The civil litigation system in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina 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.
Nonetheless, this general principle has a major exception. In rare cases, a North Wilkesboro, North Carolina judge or jury can award damages to the plaintiff that are not calculated by the actual losses sustained. Instead, they serve the purpose of punishing the defendant, and deterring others from wrongdoing. These are called "punitive damages."
Punitive Damages in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina are not awarded easily, because the civil justice system generally disfavors giving plaintiffs financial windfalls not directly related to compensating them for their injuries. They are usually only awarded when the conduct of the defendant is morally reprehensible, and far worse than simple carelessness.
Conduct that can give rise to punitive damages in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina
Personal injury litigation doesn't usually carry with it the possibility of punitive damages in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, because mostly personal injury cases stem from harm that was caused accidentally, not deliberately. Accidental harm is not enough to warrant an award of punitive damages in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina.
Punitive Damages in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina are only awarded in cases where the conduct of the plaintiff was intentional and highly immoral, or extremely reckless. In North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, torts such as fraud, gross negligence, and theft are sufficient to award punitive damages. Courts consider numerous factors when deciding whether or not punitive damages are warranted. Courts will look at the nature of the act, as well as the defendant's intent in performing the act. This will be weighed, on a sliding scale, against the actual harm that the defendant's conduct caused to the plaintiff.
There are limits on punitive damages in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. 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.
Generally, in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, 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 North Carolina have found much smaller awards to be invalid, and upheld much larger awards.
How Can a North Wilkesboro, North Carolina Attorney Help?
In North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, 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 involved in a case in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina that you believe might entitle you to punitive damages, a lot of money could be at stake. So, if you want to pursue your legal remedies, you should see a North Wilkesboro, North Carolina civil litigation attorney as soon as possible.