The aim of personal injury lawsuits is to ensure the injured party can return to the physical and mental state they were in before they sustained injuries because of someone’s negligence. However, in some cases, the defendant may act violently, cause delays in the investigation or do things to jeopardize a claim against them.
This is where the victim, i.e., you, can charge them with punitive damages.
Punitive Damages vs. Compensatory Damages
Here is how it works. There are basically two types of damages that are available in most personal injury claims – compensatory and punitive. The former is to compensate you for damages and injuries you incurred because of the defendant’s negligence. The second is to punish the defendant for any wrongdoings.
That is not to say plaintiffs can get punitive damages for every injury claim. The judge will only award those to teach the defendant a lesson or to punish him/her to ensure they do not repeat their mistakes.
What the Court Considers Before Awarding Punitive Damages
According to Illinois law, the jury can also award these damages along with compensatory ones if the defendant involved committed acts that were damaging, deliberate or deceitful in nature. It is assumed those actions can be the direct cause of the injuries of the plaintiff.
Some of the things jury may consider when awarding punitive damages include the following:
- How long the defendant maintained the misconduct
- The facts around the misconduct
- How financially vulnerable the plaintiff is
- How many times the defendant acted in an adverse manner
- The harm the misconduct caused
- Whether the misconduct was concealed deliberately by the defendant
- The type of harm caused by the misconduct
- The funds needed to discourage future misconduct and to punish the defendant considering his/her financial situation
However, it is important to note you cannot claim punitive damages in a wrongful death claim. That can only be valid if the defendant has done something wrong to merit it. However, if you were injured on someone’s property because of their negligence and they tried to coerce or threaten you not to press charges, you deserve to get punitive damages. It will speed up your recovery so it is important to understand whether you are eligible to receive them or not.
Proving this in court can be easier said than done if you don’t have a personal injury attorney in your corner. Get in touch with us at the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens for a consultation today. We offer personal injury compensation and representation for residents in Chicago, Waukegan, Woodstock, Libertyville and Antioch, IL.