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What Are Punitive Damages and When Are They Awarded in an Illinois Personal Injury Claim?

Posted on in Personal Injury Lawsuits

IL injury lawyerPersonal injury claims are used to pursue compensation for a person who has been injured due to the wrongful or negligent actions of another party. The other party may be an individual or it may be an organization such as a manufacturing company or business. The term “damages” is used to describe the harm for which a personal injury plaintiff receives compensation. In some cases, additional compensation called “punitive damages” is awarded.

Reckless Indifference to a Risk of Harm

Typical damages in a personal injury claim include medical expenses, lost income, reduced future earning capacity, and pain and suffering. Punitive damages are above and beyond compensatory damages and are intended to punish the at-fault party for behavior that is especially reprehensible. Illinois law states that a plaintiff may be awarded punitive damages if he or she can prove that the defendant’s actions were with “evil motive” or reckless disregard for the safety of others. Punitive damages are referred to as “exemplary” damages because they are designed to “make an example” out of the defendant and discourage other parties from acting similarly.

Obtaining Punitive Damages in an Injury Claim

Punitive damages are not recoverable under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act or in medical malpractice cases. However, punitive damages may be available in cases involving product liability, car accidents, premises liability such as “slip and fall” injuries, and other types of injuries. In order to obtain punitive damages, your attorney will need to show “clear and convincing” evidence that proves the egregiousness of the defendant’s actions. The court will consider factors including the duration and frequency of the plaintiff’s misconduct, the type of harm suffered by the plaintiff, whether the defendant attempted to conceal the reckless or dangerous behavior, and the overall facts of the case. In Illinois, the amount of money that may be awarded in the form of punitive damages cannot exceed three times the amount of compensation awarded for economic damages.

Contact a Waukegan Personal Injury Attorney

The law offices of Salvi & Maher, L.L.C. have successfully recovered multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts for injured clients. We have the education and experience you need to pursue the full compensation you deserve and hold the party responsible for your injuries accountable. To learn more about how we can help you, call our office at 847-662-3303. Schedule your free initial consultation with one of our skilled Lake County injury lawyers today.

 

Sources:

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=073500050K2-1115.05

https://courts.illinois.gov/CircuitCourt/CivilJuryInstructions/IL_IPI_Civil.pdf

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