Litigation Lawyers in East Northport
The civil litigation system in East Northport, 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 East Northport, 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.
You should be aware that courts in East Northport, New York are not particularly fond of granting 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 East Northport, New York
Mostly personal injury cases in East Northport, New York involve injuries that the defendant did not intend to cause, but was still at fault in causing them (through negligence, for example). In East Northport, New York, this is not enough to justify the award of punitive damages.
Punitive damages in East Northport, New York are only awarded in the most extreme cases. Fraud, theft, assault, battery, and other intentional, immoral acts are grounds for punitive damages. East Northport, New York courts will consider several factors in considering whether or not to award punitive damages. For example, the court might employ a sliding scale that weighs the immorality of the defendant's conduct against the actual harm that it caused to the plaintiff, and calculate damages accordingly.
You should be aware of the fact that there are some pretty severe limits on punitive damages in East Northport, New York. The U.S. Supreme Court has found that there are constitutional limits on punitive damage awards. Punitive damages can't be too disproportionate to the actual damages that the plaintiff has suffered. Appeals courts have found that excessive punitive damage awards violate the defendant's right to due process, by depriving them of large amounts of property.
Generally, in East Northport, New York, 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, however, and is applied on a case-by-case basis. Courts in New York have found much smaller awards to be invalid, and upheld much larger awards.
How Can a East Northport, New York Attorney Help?
In East Northport, New York, there are an essentially unlimited number of situtations in which punitive damages can be awarded.
If you are involved in a case in East Northport, New York 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 an East Northport, New York civil litigation attorney as soon as possible.