Litigation Lawyers in Milwaukee County
Civil litigation in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin 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.
However, this general principle has a major exception. In rare cases, a Milwaukee County, Wisconsin judge or jury can award damages to the plaintiff that are not calculated by the actual losses suffered. Instead, they serve the purpose of punishing the defendant, and deterring others from wrongdoing. These are called "punitive damages."
Punitive Damages in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin are not awarded lightly, because the civil justice system typically disfavors giving plaintiffs financial windfalls not directly related to compensating them for their injuries. They are usually only awarded when the conduct of the defendant is morally reprehensible, and far worse than simple carelessness.
Conduct that can give rise to punitive damages in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin
Personal injury litigation doesn't normally carry with it the possibility of punitive damages in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, because generally personal injury cases stem from harm that was caused accidentally, not deliberately. Accidental harm is not enough to warrant an award of punitive damages in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin.
Punitive damages in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin are not granted in many cases. They are only awarded when the defendant's actions 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 Milwaukee County, Wisconsin will be considered. Additionally, 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.
However, in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, the law places limits on punitive damages. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled many 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.
In general, punitive damages in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin cannot be more than 10 times larger than the actual damages suffered by the plaintiff. However, this is not an absolute rule, and appeals courts in Wisconsin have upheld much larger awards, and found much smaller awards to be invalid. It's determined on a case-by-case basis.
How Can a Milwaukee County, Wisconsin Attorney Help?
In Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, there are a large number of cases 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 immersed in a case in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin that you believe might entitle you to punitive damages, a lot of money could be at stake. Therefore, if you want to pursue your legal remedies, you should see a Milwaukee County, Wisconsin civil litigation attorney as soon as possible.