Litigation Lawyers in East Petersburg
In East Petersburg, Pennsylvania, civil litigation is not meant to punish wrongdoers, at least that is not its main 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 basic rule, however: in certain cases, a court in East Petersburg, Pennsylvania will award damages designed to punish the wrongdoer, and deter others from future wrongdoing. This practice is identified as "punitive damages."
You should be cognizant that courts in East Petersburg, Pennsylvania are not especially fond of authorizing punitive damages, because they view it as a financial windfall that generally runs counter to civil litigation's primary purpose of compensating victims of wrongdoing for the harm they've suffered. However, if the conduct of the defendant was completely reprehensible and the harm caused was deliberate, a court might impose damages to punish the defendant, known as "punitive damages."
Conduct that can give rise to punitive damages in East Petersburg, Pennsylvania
Personal injury litigation doesn't typically carry with it the possibility of punitive damages in East Petersburg, Pennsylvania, because typically 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 East Petersburg, Pennsylvania.
Punitive Damages in East Petersburg, Pennsylvania are only awarded in cases where the behavior of the plaintiff was intentional and highly immoral, or extremely reckless. In East Petersburg, Pennsylvania, torts such as fraud, gross negligence, and theft are sufficient to award punitive damages. Courts consider numerous factors when deciding whether or not punitive damages are warranted. Courts will look at the nature of the act, as well as the defendant's intent in performing the act. This will be weighed, on a sliding scale, against the actual harm that the defendant's conduct caused to the plaintiff.
There are limits on punitive damages in East Petersburg, Pennsylvania. 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.
Usually, in East Petersburg, Pennsylvania, 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 Pennsylvania have found much smaller awards to be invalid, and upheld much larger awards.
How Can a East Petersburg, Pennsylvania Attorney Help?
In East Petersburg, Pennsylvania, 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 East Petersburg, Pennsylvania, and are engaged 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 an East Petersburg, Pennsylvania civil litigation attorney