Suing for Punitive Damages in Austin

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Litigation Lawyers in Austin

In Austin, Texas, 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.

There is a major exception to this rule, however. In limited cases, courts in Austin, Texas will order a defendant to pay the plaintiff damages which are not directly tied to any harm suffered by the plaintiff. Rather, these damages, which are known as "punitive damages", are meant to punish the wrongdoer, and serve as a deterrent.

You should be aware that courts in Austin, Texas 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 Austin, Texas

The vast majority of personal injury lawsuits in Austin, Texas involve cases in which the defendant did not intend to harm the plaintiff, but did so through carelessness. This is not enough to award punitive damages in Austin, Texas.

In Austin, Texas, punitive damages are only awarded in extreme cases. Civil wrongs such as fraud, conversion (theft), battery, and other intentional, depraved acts are sufficient to award punitive damages. In deciding whether or not to award punitive damages, and how much money to award, courts in Austin, Texas will consider many different factors. Typically, they employ a sliding scale, weighing the nature of the conduct and the actual harm that the conduct caused. The more immoral the conduct, and/or the more harm caused, the more likely a court is to award punitive damages.

You should be aware of the fact that there are some pretty severe limits on punitive damages in Austin, Texas. The U.S. Supreme Court has found that there are constitutional limits on punitive damage awards. Punitive damages can't be too disproportionate to the actual damages that the plaintiff has suffered. Appeals courts have found that excessive punitive damage awards violate the defendant's right to due process, by depriving them of considerable amounts of property.

In general, punitive damages in Austin, Texas 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 Texas 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 Austin, Texas Attorney Help?

In Austin, Texas, there are a large number of cases in which punitive damages are appropriate, because the decision to grant punitive damages is largely up to the discretion of the jury.

If you have been hurt in Austin, Texas 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 Austin, Texas.

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Life in Austin

Austin, Texas is known as one of the best cities in Texas because there is a lot to do! Austin is the fourth largest city in Texas with a population of about 790,390. Also known for being the thirty-fifth largest metropolitan area in the United States, Austin has attractions for tourists of all types.

Popular attractions include Congress Avenue, Zilker Metropolitan Park, State Capital, Austin Nature Science Center, Mount Bonnell, Texas Military Forces Museum, Fall Creek Vineyards and Paramount Theatre. In all honestly, pages and pages could be written about the attractions in Austin. One really needs to go there to experience all the attractions and active vibe of the city. Austin is also home to many large multinational, international, mid-size, and small law firms. What does this mean? This means that any Austin resident and/or businesses have a large number of firms to choose from when seeking competent attorneys or law firms. This is a rare offering that not all metropolitan cities offer. Overall, from quality of life to industry, Austin is a great choice for visiting or living!

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