Punitive Damages in Illinois Personal Injury Claims

punitive damages, DuPage County personal injury attorneyWhen you have been injured in a car accident or any other type of accident for which another party was responsible, you have the right to collect full reimbursement for your losses. The law in Illinois, as in most other states, also allows you to seek additional compensation in some cases based upon the actions and intent of the liable party. In certain situations, you may be able to collect punitive damages that are designed to punish the person or entity who caused your injuries and to deter others from engaging in similar conduct in the future.

Compensatory Damages

The most basic premise of personal injury law is that you deserve to be made financially whole—to the extent possible—when you have sustained injuries as the result of someone else’s actions or negligence. In most cases, this means that the liable person or entity would be required to compensate you for:

  • Medical bills and rehabilitation expenses;
  • Lost wages;
  • Decreased ability to generate future income;
  • Quality of life considerations;
  • Pain and suffering; and
  • Scarring or disfigurement.

Depending on the circumstances of your case, these damages can be substantial, and a personal injury attorney can help you get everything you deserve.

Considering Punitive Damages

In some cases, the conduct of the liable party was so reprehensible that it demands additional consideration by the court. If the court finds that the defendant acted intentionally, or with wanton and willful disregard for the law and your safety, you may be awarded punitive damages in addition to the compensatory damages listed above. When making a determination regarding punitive damages, an Illinois court must take into account:

  • How the defendant acted and why;
  • How long the conduct continued;
  • How often the defendant engaged in such conduct;
  • Whether the harm caused was mostly physical or economic; and
  • Whether the defendant tried to conceal the conduct.

Finally, the court must determine how much money would sufficiently punish the defendant, in proportion to the actual damages caused. The amount of punitive damages should also be enough to serve as a deterrent for others who may engage in similar behavior.

Work With a DuPage County Lawyer

If you have been injured in an auto accident due to the reckless or intentional actions of another driver, contact an experienced Hinsdale personal injury attorney right away. At Martoccio & Martoccio, we are prepared to help you explore your options for collecting compensation, including the possibility of punitive damages. Call 630-920-8855 to schedule your free initial consultation at either our of two convenient locations.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=073500050HArt%2E+II&ActID=2017&ChapterID=56&SeqStart=1100000&SeqEnd=22200000

http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/circuitcourt/civiljuryinstructions/35.00.pdf

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