Litigation Lawyers in Freeport
In Freeport, 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.
Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. In Freeport, Texas, courts will, in fairly rare cases, require defendants to pay plaintiffs sums of money which aren't calculated by the actual harm and costs the plaintiff has incurred. Rather, these "punitive damages," as they are called, are meant to punish and deter wrongdoing.
Punitive Damages in Freeport, Texas are not awarded easily, because the civil justice system typically disfavors giving plaintiffs financial windfalls not directly related to compensating them for their injuries. They are usually only awarded when the conduct of the defendant is morally reprehensible, and far worse than simple carelessness.
Conduct that can give rise to punitive damages in Freeport, Texas
Generally personal injury cases in Freeport, Texas involve injuries that the defendant did not intend to cause, but was still at fault in causing them (through negligence, for instance). In Freeport, Texas, this is not enough to justify the award of punitive damages.
Punitive Damages in Freeport, Texas are only awarded in cases where the actions of the plaintiff was intentional and highly immoral, or extremely reckless. In Freeport, Texas, 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.
You should be cognizant of the fact that there are some pretty severe limits on punitive damages in Freeport, 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 massive amounts of property.
In general, punitive damages in Freeport, Texas cannot be more than 10 times larger than the actual damages sustained by the plaintiff. Nonetheless, 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 decided on a case-by-case basis.
How Can a Freeport, Texas Attorney Help?
Freeport, Texas's courts have wide discretion in awarding punitive damages. Therefore, it is impractical to comprehensively discuss all the situations in which punitive damages can arise.
If you are immersed in a case in Freeport, Texas that you believe might entitle you to punitive damages, a lot of money could be at stake. Therefore, if you want to pursue your legal remedies, you should see a Freeport, Texas civil litigation attorney as soon as possible.