Litigation Lawyers in Grandview
Civil litigation in Grandview, Washington 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 Grandview, Washington will award damages designed to punish the wrongdoer, and deter others from future wrongdoing. This practice is known as "punitive damages."
It's important to note that courts in Grandview, Washington prefer not to grant punitive damages. This is because the civil justice system is designed mainly to compensate the victims of wrongdoing. Nonetheless, there are some cases where the defendant's conduct was so immoral and evil that civil courts have an interest in making them pay further damages, going above and beyond what's needed to compensate the victim, in order to serve as a deterrent.
Conduct that can give rise to punitive damages in Grandview, Washington
Mostly personal injury cases in Grandview, Washington involve injuries that the defendant did not intend to cause, but was still at fault in causing them (through negligence, for instance). In Grandview, Washington, this is not enough to justify the award of punitive damages.
Punitive damages in Grandview, Washington are not authorized in many cases. They are only awarded when the defendant's conduct 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 Grandview, Washington will be considered. Furthermore, 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 Grandview, Washington. 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.
Punitive damages in Grandview, Washington usually 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 Washington 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 Grandview, Washington Attorney Help?
Grandview, Washington's courts have wide discretion in awarding punitive damages. Therefore, it is impossible to comprehensively discuss all the situations in which punitive damages can arise.
If you are involved in a case in Grandview, Washington 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 Grandview, Washington