Suing for Punitive Damages in Portsmouth

Find the right Litigation attorney in Portsmouth, VA

Litigation Lawyers in Portsmouth

Civil litigation in Portsmouth, Virginia is concerned almost exclusively with providing 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 general rule, however: in some cases, a court in Portsmouth, Virginia will award damages designed to punish the wrongdoer, and deter others from future wrongdoing. This practice is recognized as "punitive damages."

Courts in Portsmouth, Virginia do not grant punitive damages in most cases. The civil litigation system is geared against granting 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 similar misconduct outweighs the civil justice system's preference against punitive damages.

Conduct that can give rise to punitive damages in Portsmouth, Virginia

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

Punitive damages in Portsmouth, Virginia are only awarded in the most extreme cases. Fraud, theft, assault, battery, and other intentional, immoral acts are grounds for punitive damages. Portsmouth, Virginia courts will consider many factors in considering whether or not to award punitive damages. For example, 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.

You should be aware of the fact that there are some pretty severe limits on punitive damages in Portsmouth, Virginia. 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.

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

How Can a Portsmouth, Virginia Attorney Help?

In Portsmouth, Virginia, there are a virtually unlimited number of situtations in which punitive damages can be awarded.

If you are located in Portsmouth, Virginia, and are immersed in a case that you think, based on the information conveyed above, that might have punitive damages as an option, you can't be sure what, if anything, you're entitled to from the defendant until you consult with a Portsmouth, Virginia civil litigation attorney

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Life in Portsmouth

Portsmouth, Virginia is an independent city (meaning it is not part of any county) in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area of Virginia. Its population is about 95,000 people.

Portsmouth is home to the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, a historic and still-active shipbuilding facility for the United States Navy. It was given the name "Norfolk" to avoid confusing it with the Naval shipyard that already existed in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

This shipyard employs thousands of people, and is one of the major economic drivers of Portsmouth, Virginia. The shipyard, and the associated military installations nearby, employ several Portsmouth, Virginia attorneys, both as military officers and civilians.

Because of its varied industries and large military presence, there are many lawyers in Portsmouth, Virginia practicing a wide variety of legal specialties. If you need legal advice, chances are good that you can find a Portsmouth, Virginia attorney who can help.

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