Litigation Lawyers in Anadarko
In Anadarko, Oklahoma, civil litigation is not meant to punish wrongdoers, at least that is not its main purpose. Rather, 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 basic rule, however: in certain cases, a court in Anadarko, Oklahoma will award damages designed to punish the wrongdoer, and deter others from future wrongdoing. This practice is known as "punitive damages."
In Anadarko, Oklahoma, punitive damages are not awarded in many cases. This is because the civil litigation system highly disfavors giving money to plaintiffs in amounts disproportionate to the injuries they have suffered. Nonetheless, 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 Anadarko, Oklahoma
Personal injury litigation doesn't usually carry with it the possibility of punitive damages in Anadarko, Oklahoma, because mostly 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 Anadarko, Oklahoma.
Punitive Damages in Anadarko, Oklahoma are only awarded in cases where the conduct of the plaintiff was intentional and highly immoral, or extremely reckless. In Anadarko, Oklahoma, 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.
Nonetheless, in Anadarko, Oklahoma, the law places limits on punitive damages. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled numerous 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.
A good rule of thumb for calculating the upper limit of punitive damages in Anadarko, Oklahoma is that punitive damages can be no larger than compensatory damages times ten. This rule is not absolute, of course. Courts in Oklahoma have a good deal of discretion in awarding punitive damages, and will decide them based on the facts of each case. Because of this, punitive damage awards larger than 10 times compensatory damages are occasionally upheld, while much smaller awards have been overturned, because they were deemed excessive in a certain case.
How Can a Anadarko, Oklahoma Attorney Help?
In Anadarko, Oklahoma, there are a basically unlimited number of situtations in which punitive damages can be awarded.
If you live in Anadarko, Oklahoma and are involved in a case that you believe carries the possibility of a punitive damage award, you may be entitled to a large amount of funds from the person or company that injured you. To know for sure, you should speak with a civil litigation attorney in Anadarko, Oklahoma.