Suing for Punitive Damages in El Paso

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Litigation Lawyers in El Paso

In El Paso, Texas, civil litigation is not meant to punish wrongdoers, at least that is not its primary purpose. Rather, 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 circumstances, courts in El Paso, 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 El Paso, 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 El Paso, Texas

Personal injury litigation doesn't usually carry with it the possibility of punitive damages in El Paso, Texas, 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 El Paso, Texas.

In El Paso, Texas, punitive damages are only awarded in extreme circumstances. 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 El Paso, Texas will consider many different factors. Usually, 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.

It's critical to note that in El Paso, Texas, punitive damages are not unlimited. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that punitive damages cannot be hugely disproportionate to the amount awarded to compensate the plaintiff for the actual injuries they suffered. If the punitive damages are extremely excessive, an appeals court might rule that they amount to a deprivation of property without due process of law, or a de facto criminal punishment, without affording the defendant the protections available in criminal cases.

In El Paso, Texas, punitive damage awards are typically (but not always) capped at 10 times the amount awarded in compensatory damages. Remember, however, that this is just a general rule of thumb, and is not completely rigid. In Texas, appeals courts have a good deal of discretion in deciding if a punitive damage award is valid or invalid. Much larger awards have been upheld, and smaller awards have been overturned. The validity of a particular punitive damage award will depend heavily on the facts of each case.

How Can a El Paso, Texas Attorney Help?

The law of El Paso, Texas 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 several situations where they might be awarded.

If you are involved in a case in El Paso, Texas where punitive damages are a possibility, a very large amount of money could be at stake, whether you are the plaintiff or defendant. You should not hesitate to speak with a civil litigation attorney in El Paso, Texas

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Life in El Paso

El Paso, Texas is a large city in (and the county seat of) El Paso County, in the far western tip of Texas. It is the 5th-largest city in Texas, and the 22nd largest city in the United States, with a population of over 620,000. El Paso is right over the U.S. border from Juarez, Mexico.

The two cities are directly adjacent, and a great deal of cultural and economic exchange occurs between the two. For this reason, they are typically treated as part of the same metropolitan area (referred to as El Paso-Juarez). With a population of over 2.3 million people, El Paso-Juarez is one of the largest international metro areas in the world.

El Paso is an important entry point into the U.S., and Juarez serves the same role in Mexico. There is a significant amount of trade between the two cities, which accounts for a significant amount of the economic activity in both cities.

Additionally, Fort Bliss, an U.S. Army base which serves as home to the Air Defense Artillery Branch, is a major contributor to El Paso's economy.

Given its size and economic diversity, El Paso, Texas attorneys have plenty of work to keep busy, which ensures that they are constantly challenged, forcing them to become proficient in as many areas of law as possible. Accordingly, it's nearly certain that there's at least one El Paso, Texas lawyer who can help you with your legal issues.

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