Litigation Lawyers in Tecumseh
In Tecumseh, Oklahoma, civil litigation is not meant to punish wrongdoers, at least that is not its primary purpose. Instead, 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 Tecumseh, Oklahoma will award damages designed to punish the wrongdoer, and deter others from future wrongdoing. This practice is recognized as "punitive damages."
Courts in Tecumseh, 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 Tecumseh, Oklahoma
Generally personal injury cases in Tecumseh, Oklahoma involve injuries that the defendant did not intend to cause, but was still at fault in causing them (through negligence, for example). In Tecumseh, Oklahoma, this is not enough to justify the award of punitive damages.
Punitive damages in Tecumseh, Oklahoma are not granted in many cases. They are only awarded when the defendant's actions 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 Tecumseh, Oklahoma will be considered. Additionally, 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.
You should be aware of the fact that there are some pretty severe limits on punitive damages in Tecumseh, Oklahoma. The U.S. Supreme Court has found that there are constitutional limits on punitive damage awards. Punitive damages can't be too disproportionate to the actual damages that the plaintiff has suffered. Appeals courts have found that excessive punitive damage awards violate the defendant's right to due process, by depriving them of massive amounts of property.
In general, punitive damages in Tecumseh, 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 Tecumseh, Oklahoma Attorney Help?
The law of Tecumseh, Oklahoma 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 many situations where they might be awarded.
If you have been harmed in Tecumseh, 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 Tecumseh, Oklahoma.