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What Are Punitive Damages in an Illinois Personal Injury Claim?

Posted on in Personal Injury

crystal lake personal injury lawyerWhen someone suffers injuries because of negligence or wrongdoing, they can file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party. If this suit is successful, they receive what are known as “damages.”Damages are meant to serve as financial compensation for the injuries the plaintiff suffered because of the defendant’s misdeeds.

People with only a passing knowledge of personal injury law are familiar with compensatory damages or damages intended to compensate the victim for losses. However, far fewer are aware a second damages category exists – punitive damages.

Punitive Damages: The Basics

As mentioned above, damages are meant to address the injuries suffered by the plaintiff. The court, based on the evidence provided, conducts a strict accounting of the costs incurred by the plaintiff as a direct result of the defendant’s misconduct. In the parlance of the court, damages are meant to make the victim “whole again.”

Punitive damages, on the other hand, are not designed to compensate the plaintiff; rather, they are concerned with punishing the defendant. When a court grants punitive damages, it aims to send a message to both the defendant and society at large that such conduct will not be tolerated.

Punitive damages often equal a windfall for the victim, as they are not tied to any concrete cost and far exceed what’s necessary to make them “whole again.”

When Can Punitive Damages Be Granted?

In Illinois, punitive damages can only be awarded in extreme circumstances. The defendant’s behavior must be outrageous, worthy of such ignominious labels as “grossly negligent” or “willful and wanton.”The State also limits when punitive damages can be awarded. They are rarely given for breach of contract and are prohibited in medical malpractice and legal malpractice cases.Suffering a serious personal injury can change your life. The things you took for granted – health, work, and economic stability – may now seem out of reach.

Although the situation may seem dire, victims have rights. With the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer, they can file a lawsuit against those responsible. A successful suit may result in significant financial compensation.This compensation may cover the cost of past and future medical bills, lost wages, and physical suffering. In exceptional cases, defendants may be awarded punitive damages that exceed what’s necessary to address their injuries.

Contact a Crystal Lake Personal Injury Attorney 

Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC has been fighting on behalf of injured clients for over 30 years, offering clients candid legal advice and an empathetic voice. Contact our McHenry County personal injury lawyers for dependable legal guidance during your personal injury claim. Call 815-338-3838 for a free, confidential consultation. 




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