Litigation Lawyers in Sherwood
In Sherwood, Oregon, 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 Sherwood, Oregon will award damages designed to punish the wrongdoer, and deter others from future wrongdoing. This practice is recognized as "punitive damages."
Courts in Sherwood, Oregon 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 Sherwood, Oregon
Generally personal injury cases in Sherwood, Oregon do not involve punitive damages, because the defendant did not intend to cause harm, or act with some other form of malice. Rather, most of these cases involve situations where the defendant acted carelessly, but did not actually intend to cause harm. This is enough to award compensatory damages, but it is far from sufficient to award punitive damages in Sherwood, Oregon.
In Sherwood, Oregon, punitive damages are not awarded in most cases. They are usually only awarded when the defendant's behavior 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 Sherwood, Oregon 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.
However, in Sherwood, Oregon, the law places limits on punitive damages. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled several 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.
Punitive damages in Sherwood, Oregon normally cannot exceed 10 times the amount of actual damages suffered by the plaintiff. However, this is just a guideline, and not a strict rule. Courts in Oregon have found larger punitive damage awards to be perfectly valid, and smaller ones to be invalid. This will be highly dependent on the facts of each case.
How Can a Sherwood, Oregon Attorney Help?
In Sherwood, Oregon, judges and juries have a good deal of leeway in deciding if they want to grant punitive damages, so there are a nearly-unlimited number of situations that can lead to a punitive damage award.
If you have been harmed in Sherwood, Oregon 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 Sherwood, Oregon.