Suing for Punitive Damages in Buffalo

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The civil litigation system in Buffalo, New York 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.

This general principle is subject to an important exception, however. There are cases where a judge in Buffalo, New York will order a defendant to pay the plaintiff a sum of money which is not calculated based on actual harm the plaintiff has suffered. These are called "punitive damages" and serve the purpose of punishing and deterring wrongdoing.

In Buffalo, New York, punitive damages are not awarded in many cases. This is because the civil litigation system strongly disfavors giving money to plaintiffs in amounts disproportionate to the injuries they have suffered. However, in some cases, the conduct of the defendant is so reprehensible, that simply punishing the defendant is a worthy goal, and this interest outweighs the preference against giving civil plaintiffs financial windfalls.

Conduct that can give rise to punitive damages in Buffalo, New York

Generally personal injury cases in Buffalo, New York do not involve punitive damages, because the defendant did not intend to cause harm, or act with some other form of malice. Rather, most of these cases involve situations where the defendant acted carelessly, but did not actually intend to cause harm. This is enough to award compensatory damages, but it is far from sufficient to award punitive damages in Buffalo, New York.

In Buffalo, New York, punitive damages are not awarded in most cases. They are usually only awarded when the defendant's behavior was so reckless or deplorable that punishment of the defendant is warranted. Acts such as battery, fraud, and defamation (in some cases) are usually considered sufficient in Buffalo, New York to justify punitive damages. In deciding whether to award punitive damages, and how much to award, the two most important factors the court looks at will be the level of immorality of the act, as well as the actual harm that the plaintiff suffered as a result of the defendant's conduct.

It's crucial to note that in Buffalo, New York, 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 Buffalo, New York 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 New York 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 Buffalo, New York Attorney Help?

Buffalo, New York's courts have wide discretion in awarding punitive damages. Accordingly, it is impractical to comprehensively discuss all the situations in which punitive damages can arise.

If you are immersed in a case in Buffalo, New York 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 Buffalo, New York civil litigation attorney as soon as possible.

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Life in Buffalo

Buffalo has lots of nicknames like "the city of good neighbors," "the nickel city," and "the queen city" but the slogan that's best is "city of light." Buffalo, as the second most populous municipality in the State of New York, is just that. Buffalo is a waterfront city standing at the edge of where the Buffalo River, Niagara River, and Lake Eerie intercept. That means there are many tourists who come to Buffalo to see the Niagara Falls that are just 15 minutes away from downtown. Downtown Buffalo is a center of banking with major operations for First Niagara Bank, MT Bank, HSBC Bank USA, Bank of America, and KeyBank. Rich Products is one of the world's largest family owned food manufacturers and has their corporate headquarters in Buffalo.

Buffalo's economy is largely reliant on health care and education that have had continuous success in the face of the recession. The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and the University of Buffalo are largely to credit. Both institutions vastly expanded in the past few years offering more jobs and opportunities to Buffalo residents. Forbes Magazine rated Buffalo as the 10th best place to live in the United States in 2010. The Buffalo City Hall is a world renown building for its design by Art Deco. There are also a number of parks that are well kept in Buffalo. None compare to the Buffalo and Eerie County Botanical Gardens drawing visitors from far and wide.

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