Suing for Punitive Damages in Pottstown

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Litigation Lawyers in Pottstown

In Pottstown, Pennsylvania, civil litigation is not meant to punish wrongdoers, at least that is not its main purpose. Rather, it is designed to ensure that the victims of wrongdoing are given compensation for the harm they've suffered.

Nonetheless, this general principle has a major exception. In rare cases, a Pottstown, Pennsylvania judge or jury can award damages to the plaintiff that are not calculated by the actual losses sustained. Instead, they serve the purpose of punishing the defendant, and deterring others from wrongdoing. These are called "punitive damages."

Courts in Pottstown, Pennsylvania 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 Pottstown, Pennsylvania

Personal injury litigation doesn't usually carry with it the possibility of punitive damages in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, because mostly 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 Pottstown, Pennsylvania.

Punitive damages in Pottstown, Pennsylvania are only awarded in the most extreme cases. Fraud, theft, assault, battery, and other intentional, immoral acts are grounds for punitive damages. Pottstown, Pennsylvania courts will consider several factors in considering whether or not to award punitive damages. For instance, the court might employ a sliding scale that weighs the immorality of the defendant's conduct against the actual harm that it caused to the plaintiff, and calculate damages accordingly.

It's necessary to know that punitive damages in Pottstown, Pennsylvania 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 sustained by the plaintiff. Grossly excessive punitive damage awards are unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has held, because they amount to the government acquiring property from the defendant without due process of law.

Generally, in Pottstown, 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 Pottstown, Pennsylvania Attorney Help?

In Pottstown, Pennsylvania, 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 circumstances that can lead to a punitive damage award.

If you live in Pottstown, Pennsylvania and are involved in a case that you believe carries the possibility of a punitive damage award, you may be entitled to a large amount of funds from the person or company that injured you. To know for sure, you should speak with a civil litigation attorney in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.

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Life in Pottstown

Pottstown is a Montgomery County, Pennsylvania borough that is located just 40 miles from Philadelphia and 20 miles from Reading. The area was planned in 1752 and named for the founder, John Potts. Originally dubbed Pottsgrove, the boundaries of Pottstown were extended and it was renamed. Today, Pottstown is the epicenter of one of the most productive farming and dairy regions in the State of Pennsylvania. Pottstown was once interested in iron and steel mills, machine shops, and other manufacturing plants of textiles and goods such as bricks, hosiery, silks, shirts, nails, and furnaces. The borough rests on a total of 4.9 square miles but plays host to 21,900 residents. Pottstown is governed in a city manager form with a mayor and seven-member borough council. The residents are reasonably diverse both ethnically and economically. Most households utilize the transportation and education systems offered by Pottstown, Montgomery County, and Pennsylvania.

Pottstown Area Rapid Transit Inc. offers low cost public transportation throughout Pottstown and surrounding communities. Pottstown also offers two small airports and a passenger rail service called SEPTA. There's lots of options when it comes to schools in Pottstown. Pottstown residents, depending on where they live, are sent to the Pottstown School District, Pottsgrove School District, and Owen J. Roberts School District. There are also nine private institutions, both grammar school and high school, serving the area too. The Montgomery County Community college is the only institution of higher learning. A number of lawyers also live in Pottstown Borough. Pottstown lawyers can help you navigate any legal questions you may have and are well acquainted with the local court systems and procedures.

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