Litigation Lawyers in Berea
The civil litigation system in Berea, Ohio 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 Berea, Ohio, 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. Alternatively, these "punitive damages," as they are called, are meant to punish and deter wrongdoing.
In Berea, Ohio, 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 Berea, Ohio
Personal injury litigation doesn't typically carry with it the possibility of punitive damages in Berea, Ohio, because typically 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 Berea, Ohio.
Punitive damages in Berea, Ohio are only awarded in the most extreme cases. Fraud, theft, assault, battery, and other intentional, immoral acts are grounds for punitive damages. Berea, Ohio courts will consider various 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 behavior against the actual harm that it caused to the plaintiff, and calculate damages accordingly.
However, in Berea, Ohio, the law places limits on punitive damages. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled many 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.
In Berea, Ohio, punitive damage awards are normally (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 Ohio, 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 Berea, Ohio Attorney Help?
In Berea, Ohio, there are a virtually unlimited number of situtations in which punitive damages can be awarded.
If you are engaged in a case in Berea, Ohio that you believe might entitle you to punitive damages, a lot of money could be at stake. Thus, if you want to pursue your legal remedies, you should see a Berea, Ohio civil litigation attorney as soon as possible.