Litigation Lawyers in Crockett

In Crockett, Texas, civil litigation is not meant to punish wrongdoers, at least that is not its main purpose. Instead, 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 situations, courts in Crockett, Texas will order a defendant to pay the plaintiff damages which are not directly tied to any harm sustained 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 cognizant that courts in Crockett, Texas 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 Crockett, Texas

Generally personal injury cases in Crockett, Texas involve injuries that the defendant did not intend to cause, but was still at fault in causing them (through negligence, for instance). In Crockett, Texas, this is not enough to justify the award of punitive damages.

In Crockett, Texas, punitive damages are not awarded in most cases. They are usually only awarded when the defendant's behavior was so reckless or deplorable that punishment of the defendant is warranted. Acts such as battery, fraud, and defamation (in some cases) are usually considered sufficient in Crockett, Texas to justify punitive damages. In deciding whether to award punitive damages, and how much to award, the two most important factors the court looks at will be the level of immorality of the act, as well as the actual harm that the plaintiff suffered as a result of the defendant's conduct.

There are limits on punitive damages in Crockett, Texas. 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.

A good rule of thumb for calculating the upper limit of punitive damages in Crockett, Texas is that punitive damages can be no larger than compensatory damages times ten. This rule is not absolute, of course. Courts in Texas have a good deal of discretion in awarding punitive damages, and will decide them based on the facts of each case. Because of this, punitive damage awards larger than 10 times compensatory damages are occasionally upheld, while much smaller awards have been overturned, because they were deemed excessive in a certain case.

How Can a Crockett, Texas Attorney Help?

In Crockett, Texas, 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 situations that can lead to a punitive damage award.

If you live in Crockett, Texas 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 funds from the person or company that harmed you. To know for sure, you should speak with a civil litigation attorney in Crockett, Texas.