Litigation Lawyers in Rye Brook
The civil litigation system in Rye Brook, 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.
Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. In Rye Brook, New York, courts will, in relatively rare cases, require defendants to pay plaintiffs sums of money which aren't calculated by the actual harm and costs the plaintiff has incurred. Rather, these "punitive damages," as they are called, are meant to punish and deter wrongdoing.
Punitive Damages in Rye Brook, New York are not awarded lightly, because the civil justice system typically 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 Rye Brook, New York
Personal injury litigation doesn't normally carry with it the possibility of punitive damages in Rye Brook, New York, 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 Rye Brook, New York.
Punitive Damages in Rye Brook, New York are only awarded in cases where the actions of the plaintiff was intentional and highly immoral, or extremely reckless. In Rye Brook, New York, 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 important to know that punitive damages in Rye Brook, New York 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 Rye Brook, New York, punitive damage awards are usually (but not always) capped at 10 times the amount awarded in compensatory damages. Remember, however, that this is just a general rule of thumb, and is not completely rigid. In New York, appeals courts have a good deal of discretion in deciding if a punitive damage award is valid or invalid. Much larger awards have been upheld, and smaller awards have been overturned. The validity of a particular punitive damage award will depend heavily on the facts of each case.
How Can a Rye Brook, New York Attorney Help?
Rye Brook, 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 Rye Brook, New York where punitive damages are a possibility, a very large amount of money could be at stake, whether you are the plaintiff or defendant. You should not hesitate to speak with a civil litigation attorney in Rye Brook, New York