Litigation Lawyers in Kenmore
Civil litigation in Kenmore, 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 Kenmore, Washington will award damages designed to punish the wrongdoer, and deter others from future wrongdoing. This practice is known as "punitive damages."
It's essential to note that courts in Kenmore, 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 Kenmore, Washington
Mostly personal injury cases in Kenmore, Washington involve injuries that the defendant did not intend to cause, but was still at fault in causing them (through negligence, for instance). In Kenmore, Washington, this is not enough to justify the award of punitive damages.
Punitive damages in Kenmore, 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 Kenmore, 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.
It's essential to note that in Kenmore, Washington, punitive damages are not unlimited. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that punitive damages cannot be hugely disproportionate to the amount awarded to compensate the plaintiff for the actual injuries they suffered. If the punitive damages are extremely excessive, an appeals court might rule that they amount to a deprivation of property without due process of law, or a de facto criminal punishment, without affording the defendant the protections available in criminal cases.
In Kenmore, Washington, punitive damage awards are typically (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 Washington, 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 Kenmore, Washington Attorney Help?
Kenmore, 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 Kenmore, Washington that you believe might entitle you to punitive damages, a lot of money could be at stake. So, if you want to pursue your legal remedies, you should see a Kenmore, Washington civil litigation attorney as soon as possible.