Litigation Lawyers in Horry County
In Horry County, South Carolina, 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.
However, this general principle has a major exception. In rare cases, a Horry County, 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 Horry County, 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 Horry County, South Carolina
Personal injury litigation doesn't normally carry with it the possibility of punitive damages in Horry County, South Carolina, 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 Horry County, South Carolina.
Punitive Damages in Horry County, South Carolina are only awarded in cases where the actions of the plaintiff was intentional and highly immoral, or extremely reckless. In Horry County, South Carolina, 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.
However, in Horry County, South Carolina, the law places limits on punitive damages. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled many 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.
In general, punitive damages in Horry County, South Carolina cannot be more than 10 times larger than the actual damages suffered by the plaintiff. However, this is not an absolute rule, and appeals courts in South Carolina have upheld much larger awards, and found much smaller awards to be invalid. It's determined on a case-by-case basis.
How Can a Horry County, South Carolina Attorney Help?
The law of Horry County, South Carolina doesn't lay out many strict conditions which are required before punitive damages can be granted. Instead, it largely leaves it to the discretion of the courts. So, there are many situations where they might be awarded.
If you live in Horry County, South Carolina and are immersed in a case that you believe carries the possibility of a punitive damage award, you may be entitled to a large amount of money from the person or company that harmed you. To know for sure, you should speak with a civil litigation attorney in Horry County, South Carolina.