McCallar Law firm can help you with civil law issues
such as litigation, tort and personal injury.
law, a private party (e.g., a corporation or individual
person) files the lawsuit and becomes the plaintiff.
The defendant is the party that the lawsuit names. In
general, a losing defendant in civil litigation only
reimburses the plaintiff for losses caused by the
So-called punitive damages are never awarded in a civil
case under contract law. In a civil case under tort law,
there is a possibility of punitive damages, if the
defendant's conduct is egregious and had either (1) a
malicious intent (i.e., desire to cause harm), (2) gross
negligence (i.e., conscious indifference), or (3) a
willful disregard for the rights of others. The use of
punitive damages makes a public example of the defendant
and supposedly deters future wrongful conduct by others.
Punitive damages are particularly important in torts
involving dignitary harms (e.g., invasion of privacy)
and civil rights, where the actual monetary injury to
plaintiff(s) may be small.
One can purchase insurance that will pay damages and
attorney's fees for tort claims. Such insurance coverage
is a standard part of homeowner's insurance policies,
automobile insurance, and insurance for businesses. In
contrast, it is not possible for a defendant to purchase
insurance to pay for his/her criminal acts.
While a court can order a defendant to pay damages, the
plaintiff may receive nothing if the defendant has no
assets and no insurance, or if the defendant is skillful
in concealing assets. In this way, large awards for
plaintiffs in tort cases are often an illusion.
Burden of Proof
In civil litigation, the burden of proof is initially on
the plaintiff. However, there are a number of technical
situations in which the burden shifts to the defendant.
For example, when the plaintiff has made a prima facie
case, the burden shifts to the defendant to refute or
rebut the plaintiff's evidence.
In civil litigation, the plaintiff wins if the
preponderance of the evidence favors the plaintiff. For
example, if the jury believes that there is more than a
50% probability that the defendant was negligent in
causing the plaintiff's injury, the plaintiff wins. This
is a very low standard, compared to criminal law. In my
personal view, it is too low a standard, especially
considering that the defendant could be ordered to pay
millions of dollars to the plaintiff(s).
A few tort claims (e.g., fraud) require that plaintiff
prove his/her case at a level of "clear and convincing
evidence", which is a standard higher than
preponderance, but less than "beyond a reasonable
CONTACT US IF YOU NEED
ASSISTANCE WITH ISSUES
PERTAINING TO CIVIL LAW.
Call us or
McCallar Law Firm
West Oglethorpe Avenue
P.O. Box 9026
Savannah, Georgia 31412