Suing for Punitive Damages in Columbia

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Litigation Lawyers in Columbia

In Columbia, South Carolina, civil litigation is not meant to punish wrongdoers, at least that is not its primary purpose. Alternatively, it is designed to ensure that the victims of wrongdoing are given compensation for the harm they've suffered.

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

You should be aware that courts in Columbia, South Carolina are not particularly fond of granting 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 Columbia, South Carolina

Personal injury litigation doesn't typically carry with it the possibility of punitive damages in Columbia, South Carolina, 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 Columbia, South Carolina.

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

It's essential to know that punitive damages in Columbia, South Carolina 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 suffered by the plaintiff. Grossly excessive punitive damage awards are unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has held, because they amount to the government taking property from the defendant without due process of law.

Punitive damages in Columbia, South Carolina typically 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 South Carolina 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 Columbia, South Carolina Attorney Help?

In Columbia, South Carolina, there are a essentially unlimited number of situtations in which punitive damages can be awarded.

If you are located in Columbia, South Carolina, 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 a Columbia, South Carolina civil litigation attorney

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Life in Columbia

Columbia, South Carolina is the state capital, and the largest city in the state. It has a population of about 130,000 people. Columbia has a rich history, and has figured prominently in important historical events dating back to before the Civil War. While being occupied by Union troops during the Civil War, much of Columbia was destroyed in a fire. During Reconstruction, as in many Southern states, numerous African Americans were elected to public office in South Carolina, which was a novelty to most Americans at the time. As a result, Columbia experienced a brief tourism boom, as visitors wanted to observe the state legislature in session. Modernly, Columbia, South Carolina is quite diverse in both demographics, and economy. Columbia is a major center for several industries, such as healthcare, manufacturing, insurance, and many others.

Columbia, South Carolina is also home to Fort Jackson, the U.S. Army's largest training facility, which has a major economic impact on the area. Each year, the federal government spends over million for salaries, utilities, and other services (with a significant amount going to local contractors). Furthermore, each year, over 100,000 people visit the area to attend basic training graduation, and patronize the local hotels, restaurants, and retail outlets.

Columbia, South Carolina lawyers need to be competent to handle many different types of cases. If you contact a Columbia, South Carolina lawyer with any type of case, chances are they cantake it, or refer it to another local attorney who can.

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