Litigation Lawyers in Vernal
Civil litigation in Vernal, Utah is concerned almost always with extending financial redress to the victims of wrongdoing. It is not concerned with meting out punishment or moral judgment upon the wrongdoers.
There is an exception to this basic rule, however: in certain cases, a court in Vernal, Utah will award damages designed to punish the wrongdoer, and deter others from future wrongdoing. This practice is recognized as "punitive damages."
In Vernal, Utah, punitive damages are not awarded in many cases. This is because the civil litigation system highly disfavors giving money to plaintiffs in amounts disproportionate to the injuries they have suffered. Nonetheless, in some cases, the conduct of the defendant is so reprehensible, that simply punishing the defendant is a worthy goal, and this interest outweighs the preference against giving civil plaintiffs financial windfalls.
Conduct that can give rise to punitive damages in Vernal, Utah
A majority of personal injury litigation actions in Vernal, Utah do not involve the possibility of punitive damages, because they normally involve injuries where the defendant is at fault for the harm caused, but did not intend to do any harm. In Vernal, Utah, accidental harm may be enough to award the plaintiff compensatory damages, but it is not enough for punitive damages.
Punitive damages in Vernal, Utah are only awarded in the most extreme cases. Fraud, theft, assault, battery, and other intentional, immoral acts are grounds for punitive damages. Vernal, Utah courts will consider many factors in considering whether or not to award punitive damages. For instance, the court might employ a sliding scale that weighs the immorality of the defendant's actions against the actual harm that it caused to the plaintiff, and calculate damages accordingly.
Nonetheless, in Vernal, 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.
Punitive damages in Vernal, Utah normally cannot surpass 10 times the amount of actual damages suffered by the plaintiff. Nonetheless, this is just a guideline, and not a strict rule. Courts in Utah have found larger punitive damage awards to be perfectly valid, and smaller ones to be invalid. This will be strongly dependent on the facts of each case.
How Can a Vernal, Utah Attorney Help?
In Vernal, 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 are immersed in a case in Vernal, Utah 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 delay to speak with a civil litigation attorney in Vernal, Utah