Litigation Lawyers in South Salt Lake
In South Salt Lake, Utah, 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 South Salt Lake, Utah, 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.
Courts in South Salt Lake, Utah do not authorize punitive damages in most cases. The civil litigation system is geared against authorizing financial windfalls to civil plaintiffs. But, there are rare cases, where the defendant has done something to the plaintiff that is so morally reprehensible, that society's interest in punishing the defendant and deterring comparable misconduct outweighs the civil justice system's preference against punitive damages.
Conduct that can give rise to punitive damages in South Salt Lake, Utah
Personal injury litigation doesn't normally carry with it the possibility of punitive damages in South Salt Lake, Utah, 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 South Salt Lake, Utah.
Punitive damages in South Salt Lake, Utah are not authorized in many cases. They are only awarded when the defendant's actions was so deplorable and deliberate (but not necessarily criminal) that punishment is warranted. Fraud, battery, conversion (theft) and other intentional, insidious acts are usually required before punitive damages in South Salt Lake, Utah will be considered. Additionally, in deciding how much to award in punitive damages, a court will consider 2 main factors: the insidious nature of the defendant's conduct, and the actual harm that the plaintiff suffered as a result.
Nonetheless, in South Salt Lake, Utah, the law places limits on punitive damages. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled various 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 South Salt Lake, Utah 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 Utah 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 South Salt Lake, Utah Attorney Help?
In South Salt Lake, Utah, 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 South Salt Lake, Utah 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 South Salt Lake, Utah.