Litigation Lawyers in Wadsworth
In Wadsworth, Ohio, civil litigation is not meant to punish wrongdoers, at least that is not its primary purpose. Alternatively, it is designed to ensure that the victims of wrongdoing are given compensation for the harm they've suffered.
There is an exception to this general rule, however: in some cases, a court in Wadsworth, Ohio will award damages designed to punish the wrongdoer, and deter others from future wrongdoing. This practice is identified as "punitive damages."
In Wadsworth, 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 Wadsworth, Ohio
A majority of personal injury litigation actions in Wadsworth, Ohio do not involve the possibility of punitive damages, because they typically involve injuries where the defendant is at fault for the harm caused, but did not intend to do any harm. In Wadsworth, Ohio, accidental harm may be enough to award the plaintiff compensatory damages, but it is not enough for punitive damages.
Punitive damages in Wadsworth, Ohio are not granted in many cases. They are only awarded when the defendant's behavior was so deplorable and deliberate (but not necessarily criminal) that punishment is warranted. Fraud, battery, conversion (theft) and other intentional, insidious acts are usually required before punitive damages in Wadsworth, Ohio will be considered. Moreover, in deciding how much to award in punitive damages, a court will consider 2 main factors: the insidious nature of the defendant's conduct, and the actual harm that the plaintiff suffered as a result.
However, in Wadsworth, Ohio, the law places limits on punitive damages. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled several 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.
Punitive damages in Wadsworth, Ohio typically cannot exceed 10 times the amount of actual damages suffered by the plaintiff. However, this is just a guideline, and not a strict rule. Courts in Ohio have found larger punitive damage awards to be perfectly valid, and smaller ones to be invalid. This will be highly dependent on the facts of each case.
How Can a Wadsworth, Ohio Attorney Help?
The law of Wadsworth, Ohio doesn't lay out many strict conditions which are required before punitive damages can be granted. Instead, it largely leaves it to the discretion of the courts. So, there are several situations where they might be awarded.
If you have been hurt in Wadsworth, Ohio and you think punitive damages might be justified, a large amount of money might be at stake. For that reason, you should not hesitate to consult a civil litigation attorney in Wadsworth, Ohio.