Litigation Lawyers in Pryor Creek
In Pryor Creek, Oklahoma, 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 Pryor Creek, Oklahoma will award damages designed to punish the wrongdoer, and deter others from future wrongdoing. This practice is identified as "punitive damages."
Courts in Pryor Creek, Oklahoma do not grant punitive damages in most cases. The civil litigation system is geared against granting 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 similar misconduct outweighs the civil justice system's preference against punitive damages.
Conduct that can give rise to punitive damages in Pryor Creek, Oklahoma
Typically personal injury cases in Pryor Creek, Oklahoma involve injuries that the defendant did not intend to cause, but was still at fault in causing them (through negligence, for example). In Pryor Creek, Oklahoma, this is not enough to justify the award of punitive damages.
In Pryor Creek, Oklahoma, punitive damages are not awarded in most cases. They are normally only awarded when the defendant's actions was so reckless or deplorable that punishment of the defendant is warranted. Acts such as battery, fraud, and defamation (in some cases) are usually considered sufficient in Pryor Creek, Oklahoma to justify punitive damages. In deciding whether to award punitive damages, and how much to award, the two most important factors the court looks at will be the level of immorality of the act, as well as the actual harm that the plaintiff suffered as a result of the defendant's conduct.
It's crucial to know that punitive damages in Pryor Creek, 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 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 general, punitive damages in Pryor Creek, Oklahoma cannot be more than 10 times larger than the actual damages suffered by the plaintiff. However, this is not an absolute rule, and appeals courts in Oklahoma have upheld much larger awards, and found much smaller awards to be invalid. It's determined on a case-by-case basis.
How Can a Pryor Creek, Oklahoma Attorney Help?
In Pryor Creek, Oklahoma, there are a large number of cases in which punitive damages are appropriate, because the decision to grant punitive damages is largely up to the discretion of the jury.
If you have been hurt in Pryor Creek, Oklahoma 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 Pryor Creek, Oklahoma.