Punitive Damages in an Illinois Injury Case | Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C.

When someone else is responsible for your injuries, you have the right to be compensated for your financial losses. These financial losses include compensatory damages like your medical bills and lost wages, but there are others. For instance, if the other party’s actions are reprehensible, grossly negligent, abhorrent, or egregious, they may award you punitive damages.

At Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., our personal injury lawyers can help determine if punitive damages apply to your case and pursue all other types of compensation. Contact us for a free consultation to learn more about your case’s worth.

What Are Punitive Damages?

Punitive damages are unlike the economic and non-economic damages you have the right to recover in your injury claim. Punitive damages are designed to punish the liable party for their abhorrent actions.

By awarding punitive damages, the court sends a message that they will not tolerate actions of this nature and take cases like this seriously. For punitive damages to be awarded, a defendant must be acting with extreme recklessness. Someone who acts with carelessness, on the other hand, would not be punished through punitive damages.

Generally, punitive damages can be awarded in any type of personal injury claim, whether due to medical malpractice, car accident, premises liability, defective products, or any other type of negligent action.

Who Is Entitled to Punitive Damages in Illinois?

Under Illinois law, juries may impose punitive damages if the defendant acted intentionally, fraudulently, or willfully. Gross negligence also applies.

A defendant intentionally attempting to cause injury, illness, or trauma to another can be punished civilly for their actions through the imposition of punitive damages.

Punitive damage awards are not the standard in personal injury claims. Punitive damages apply in extreme situations where the defendant’s actions would be considered intolerable by society’s standards.

How Are Punitive Damages Calculated

Only the jury can determine how much you should be awarded in punitive damages. Generally, a jury considers the defendant’s actions, severity, and intent to determine how much they should be punished for your injuries.

Although there is no limit on the punitive damages you can be awarded in a personal injury claim in Illinois, if the defendant finds the amount of punitive damages awarded exorbitant, they could appeal the decision.

How to Prove Punitive Damages Apply

Punitive damages are not based on ordinary negligence. With help from your lawyer, you can request that you be awarded punitive damages in addition to your compensatory damages.

Your lawyer can introduce evidence to support your reasoning for requesting punitive damages. Remember, the defendant’s actions must be considered egregious and intolerable.

Some evidence your attorney could present includes:

  • The defendant’s intent
  • The defendant’s actions
  • The way the defendant engaged in your case
  • The physical or emotional harm the defendant caused
  • Whether the defendant attempted to hide their actions
  • How vulnerable you are as a victim

Depending on the specific circumstances, your attorney may need to introduce expert testimony, witness statements, and other evidence to prove that punitive damages are appropriate in your case.

Negotiating for Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are not typically awarded when negotiating with the insurance company. However, that does not mean negotiating outside of court is impossible.

If you are seeking punitive damages, your attorney will ensure to seek punitive damages in the amount you would have recovered if your case had gone to court. After all, if the insurance company refuses to settle your claim fairly, we will be prepared to bring your case to court to ensure you are compensated accordingly.

Factors That Should Be Considered

When considering whether punitive damages should be awarded in your injury claim, the jury will consider the following:

  • The plaintiff’s financial vulnerability
  • The circumstances of the case
  • The facts of the defendant’s conduct
  • Whether the defendant had a history of poor behavior
  • How long has the defendant acted in such a manner
  • The harm the defendant physically and emotionally caused
  • The types of damages the plaintiff suffered
  • If the defendant attempted to hide their actions
  • The amount of compensation appropriate to punish the defendant

These are just a few details the jury will consider when determining whether you should be awarded punitive damages and, if so, how much. The jury can examine the entirety of your case to determine whether punitive damages are appropriate and how much you should be compensated for the defendant’s egregiousness.

Thing That Help or Harm a Chicago Punitive Damages Claim

There are a couple of details regarding punitive damages that you should know as you attempt to move forward. First, it is essential to note that you cannot be awarded punitive damages for a loss of consortium.

Loss of consortium refers to the ways your family members’ lives have been affected by your injuries. Some examples of loss of consortium include loss of:

  • Companionship
  • Love
  • Guidance
  • Protection
  • Support
  • Society
  • Advice

Punitive damages are also not permanent in awards against corporations under Illinois law. The complicity rule states that punitive damages are not allowed based on the theory of respondent superior unless actual corporate officer fault can be proven.

Furthermore, punitive damages are prohibited in any malpractice case or wrongful death lawsuit. Contact your attorney if you are unsure whether you could be awarded punitive damages.

Does Your Settlement Offer Include Punitive Damages?

Whether you are bringing your case to court or negotiating with the insurance company, it is important to understand your case’s worth. When your attorney is calculating the value of your economic damages and non-economic damages, we will also go over whether punitive damages could be awarded in your case.

Estimating your potential for punitive damages can give you a better understanding of what to expect. Generally, unless the defendant’s actions are intentional, grossly negligent, willful, or otherwise reprehensible, it is unlikely you will be awarded punitive damages.

Get Help from an Illinois Personal Injury Lawyer

If you are interested in learning more about how much you could be awarded if you move forward with your personal injury claim or if punitive damages apply in your case, contact an experienced Illinois personal injury lawyer at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C.

We offer no-cost, risk-free consultations to injury victims across Illinois. Call (312) 236-2900 or fill out our online form.

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(312) 236-2900
(312) 236-2900
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