Litigation Lawyers in Mustang
In Mustang, 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 Mustang, Oklahoma will award damages designed to punish the wrongdoer, and deter others from future wrongdoing. This practice is known as "punitive damages."
Courts in Mustang, Oklahoma do not authorize punitive damages in most cases. The civil litigation system is geared against authorizing financial windfalls to civil plaintiffs. But, there are rare cases, where the defendant has done something to the plaintiff that is so morally reprehensible, that society's interest in punishing the defendant and deterring comparable misconduct outweighs the civil justice system's preference against punitive damages.
Conduct that can give rise to punitive damages in Mustang, Oklahoma
Mostly personal injury cases in Mustang, Oklahoma involve injuries that the defendant did not intend to cause, but was still at fault in causing them (through negligence, for instance). In Mustang, Oklahoma, this is not enough to justify the award of punitive damages.
Punitive damages in Mustang, Oklahoma are only awarded in the most extreme cases. Fraud, theft, assault, battery, and other intentional, immoral acts are grounds for punitive damages. Mustang, Oklahoma courts will consider several factors in considering whether or not to award punitive damages. For instance, 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.
It's essential to know that punitive damages in Mustang, Oklahoma 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 sustained by the plaintiff. Grossly excessive punitive damage awards are unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has held, because they amount to the government acquiring property from the defendant without due process of law.
Generally, in Mustang, Oklahoma, 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, nonetheless, and is applied on a case-by-case basis. Courts in Oklahoma have found much smaller awards to be invalid, and upheld much larger awards.
How Can a Mustang, Oklahoma Attorney Help?
In Mustang, Oklahoma, there are a large variety of situations in which punitive damages are appropriate, because the decision to grant punitive damages is largely up to the discretion of the jury.
If you are located in Mustang, Oklahoma, and are involved in a case that you think, based on the information conveyed above, that might have punitive damages as an option, you can't be sure what, if anything, you're entitled to from the defendant until you consult with a Mustang, Oklahoma civil litigation attorney