What Are Punitive Damages in Illinois?

If you’ve chosen to move forward with your civil claim in Illinois, you are probably wondering how much you can expect to recover in your case. In addition to your economic and non-economic damages, which might include your pain and suffering, medical expenses, loss of enjoyment of life, lost wages, and a number of other losses, you can also stand to be awarded a sum of punitive damages.

But what are punitive damages, exactly? How will you know if they will apply to your claim? Continue reading to learn more about punitive damages and what you can expect from them in your Illinois claim.

When a Judge May Issue a Punitive Damages Award

You probably know that being awarded punitive damages can drastically increase the amount of your final award. However, not every claim or individual is entitled to punitive damages. In fact, Illinois judges will only issue this award in cases where the defendant was grossly negligent or willfully and intentionally harmful, or if their actions were egregious in nature.

For instance, someone who was struck by a vehicle when the driver was distracted may not be awarded punitive damages, as the actions of the liable driver were accidental. Conversely, a large corporation that knew a product was defective but allowed it to continue to be sold despite reports of injury could be ordered to pay punitive damages since their actions were grossly negligent.

The Purpose of Punitive Damages

Punitive damages can be great for your Illinois claim, as they mean that your final award can be substantially higher than it would’ve been without them.

However, despite the fact that punitive damages can help you achieve maximum compensation, their purpose is to punish the defendant for their actions. The judge’s goal here is to make an example of the liable party, thereby deterring future wrongdoers from making the same mistakes.

Schedule Your Free Consultation Today

If you have further questions about punitive damages and whether or not you can expect them to be applied to your personal injury claim in Illinois, get in touch with a knowledgeable Illinois personal injury lawyer at Lane & Lane, LLC today. You can schedule your free consultation by completing the quick contact form below or by calling our office directly at 312-332-1400.

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