Litigation Lawyers in Pleasant Garden
The civil litigation system in Pleasant Garden, North Carolina 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.
However, this general principle has a major exception. In rare cases, a Pleasant Garden, North Carolina judge or jury can award damages to the plaintiff that are not calculated by the actual losses suffered. Instead, they serve the purpose of punishing the defendant, and deterring others from wrongdoing. These are called "punitive damages."
Punitive Damages in Pleasant Garden, North Carolina are not awarded lightly, because the civil justice system usually 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 Pleasant Garden, North Carolina
Personal injury litigation doesn't typically carry with it the possibility of punitive damages in Pleasant Garden, North Carolina, because typically 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 Pleasant Garden, North Carolina.
Punitive Damages in Pleasant Garden, North Carolina are only awarded in cases where the behavior of the plaintiff was intentional and highly immoral, or extremely reckless. In Pleasant Garden, 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.
It's essential to know that punitive damages in Pleasant Garden, North Carolina 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 suffered by the plaintiff. Grossly excessive punitive damage awards are unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has held, because they amount to the government taking property from the defendant without due process of law.
In general, punitive damages in Pleasant Garden, North Carolina cannot be more than 10 times larger than the actual damages suffered by the plaintiff. However, this is not an absolute rule, and appeals courts in North Carolina have upheld much larger awards, and found much smaller awards to be invalid. It's determined on a case-by-case basis.
How Can a Pleasant Garden, North Carolina Attorney Help?
In Pleasant Garden, North Carolina, judges and juries have a good deal of leeway in deciding if they want to grant punitive damages, so there are a nearly-unlimited number of cases that can lead to a punitive damage award.
If you live in Pleasant Garden, North Carolina and are engaged in a case that you believe carries the possibility of a punitive damage award, you may be entitled to a large amount of money from the person or company that hurt you. To know for sure, you should speak with a civil litigation attorney in Pleasant Garden, North Carolina.