Suing for Punitive Damages in Staunton

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Litigation Lawyers in Staunton

Civil litigation in Staunton, Virginia 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 Staunton, Virginia will award damages designed to punish the wrongdoer, and deter others from future wrongdoing. This practice is identified as "punitive damages."

Courts in Staunton, Virginia 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 Staunton, Virginia

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

Punitive damages in Staunton, Virginia are not authorized in many cases. They are only awarded when the defendant's behavior 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 Staunton, Virginia will be considered. Moreover, 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.

There are limits on punitive damages in Staunton, Virginia. The Supreme Court has held that punitive damage awards which are grossly disproportionate to the immorality of the conduct, and the harm that it caused, are an unconstitutional deprivation of property without due process of law.

In Staunton, Virginia, punitive damage awards are normally (but not always) capped at 10 times the amount awarded in compensatory damages. Remember, however, that this is just a basic rule of thumb, and is not completely rigid. In Virginia, 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 specific punitive damage award will depend heavily on the facts of each case.

How Can a Staunton, Virginia Attorney Help?

In Staunton, Virginia, there are a large variety of situations in which punitive damages are appropriate, because the decision to grant punitive damages is largely up to the discretion of the jury.

If you are engaged in a case in Staunton, Virginia 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 Staunton, Virginia

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Life in Staunton

The city of Staunton is located in Augusta County, Virginia. It is a relatively older community comprised of about 23,000 residents. It was incorporated in 1871. Staunton was first settled by merchants, and its economic beginnings can be traced to the fields of trade, industry, and transportation. The city is locally known for being the birthplace of former U.S. President Woodrow Wilson.

Currently Staunton is an ideal tourist destination, as it has five separate districts with many sights to see. The arts and culture contribute greatly to Staunton's atmosphere, as can be seen by the American Shakespeare Center. The Center is home to the only replica of Shakespeare's Blackfriars Theatre in existence. Strict building codes have preserved much of Staunton's unique early-American architecture. This makes it a popular location for film and T.V. settings.

Staunton residents can enjoy many of the city's outdoor festivals and parades, such as the 4th of July Celebration. Country music is a favorite for many locals, as the city has produced many top-notch artists. The city is a genuine reservoir of American culture and history. Besides President Woodrow Wilson, Staunton has been the hometown of several lawyers, senators, and legislators throughout history.

Staunton lawyers typically file their cases at the Staunton General District Court located in the city. Many lawyers in Staunton, Virginia frequently participate in the city's many community service and outreach programs.

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