Litigation Lawyers in Wolfeboro
The civil litigation system in Wolfeboro, 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 Wolfeboro, 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 Wolfeboro, 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 Wolfeboro, New Hampshire
Personal injury litigation doesn't normally carry with it the possibility of punitive damages in Wolfeboro, 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 Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.
In Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, punitive damages are only awarded in extreme situations. 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 Wolfeboro, New Hampshire will consider many different factors. Normally, 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.
It's crucial to note that in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, punitive damages are not unlimited. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that punitive damages cannot be hugely disproportionate to the amount awarded to compensate the plaintiff for the actual injuries they suffered. If the punitive damages are extremely excessive, an appeals court might rule that they amount to a deprivation of property without due process of law, or a de facto criminal punishment, without affording the defendant the protections available in criminal cases.
In general, punitive damages in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire 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 New Hampshire 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 Wolfeboro, New Hampshire Attorney Help?
Wolfeboro, New Hampshire'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 are immersed in a case in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire that you believe might entitle you to punitive damages, a lot of money could be at stake. Therefore, if you want to pursue your legal remedies, you should see a Wolfeboro, New Hampshire civil litigation attorney as soon as possible.