Litigation Lawyers in Clackamas County
In Clackamas County, Oregon, civil litigation is not meant to punish wrongdoers, at least that is not its main 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 basic rule, however: in certain cases, a court in Clackamas County, Oregon will award damages designed to punish the wrongdoer, and deter others from future wrongdoing. This practice is recognized as "punitive damages."
Courts in Clackamas County, Oregon 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 Clackamas County, Oregon
Personal injury litigation doesn't normally carry with it the possibility of punitive damages in Clackamas County, Oregon, because generally 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 Clackamas County, Oregon.
Punitive damages in Clackamas County, Oregon are not authorized 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 Clackamas County, Oregon 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.
There are limits on punitive damages in Clackamas County, Oregon. The Supreme Court has held that punitive damage awards which are grossly disproportionate to the immorality of the conduct, and the harm that it caused, are an unconstitutional deprivation of property without due process of law.
Typically, in Clackamas County, Oregon, 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 Oregon have found much smaller awards to be invalid, and upheld much larger awards.
How Can a Clackamas County, Oregon Attorney Help?
In Clackamas County, Oregon, 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 Clackamas County, Oregon, and are immersed 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 Clackamas County, Oregon civil litigation attorney