Litigation Lawyers in Newton
The civil litigation system in Newton, New Hampshire 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 Newton, New Hampshire 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."
You should be cognizant that courts in Newton, New Hampshire are not especially fond of authorizing punitive damages, because they view it as a financial windfall that generally runs counter to civil litigation's primary purpose of compensating victims of wrongdoing for the harm they've suffered. However, if the conduct of the defendant was completely reprehensible and the harm caused was deliberate, a court might impose damages to punish the defendant, known as "punitive damages."
Conduct that can give rise to punitive damages in Newton, New Hampshire
Personal injury litigation doesn't normally carry with it the possibility of punitive damages in Newton, New Hampshire, because generally 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 Newton, New Hampshire.
Punitive damages in Newton, New Hampshire are only awarded in the most extreme cases. Fraud, theft, assault, battery, and other intentional, immoral acts are grounds for punitive damages. Newton, New Hampshire courts will consider many 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 actions against the actual harm that it caused to the plaintiff, and calculate damages accordingly.
Nonetheless, in Newton, New Hampshire, the law places limits on punitive damages. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled various times that punitive damages cannot be grossly disproportionate to the evil nature of the conduct, and the injuries that the defendant suffered. If they are disproportionate, punitive damages might be considered a deprivation of the defendant's right to due process of law.
A good rule of thumb for calculating the upper limit of punitive damages in Newton, New Hampshire is that punitive damages can be no larger than compensatory damages times ten. This rule is not absolute, of course. Courts in New Hampshire have a good deal of discretion in awarding punitive damages, and will decide them based on the facts of each case. Because of this, punitive damage awards larger than 10 times compensatory damages are occasionally upheld, while much smaller awards have been overturned, because they were deemed excessive in a certain case.
How Can a Newton, New Hampshire Attorney Help?
In Newton, New Hampshire, 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 situations that can lead to a punitive damage award.
If you have been harmed in Newton, New Hampshire and you think punitive damages might be justified, a large amount of money might be at stake. For that reason, you should not delay to consult a civil litigation attorney in Newton, New Hampshire.