Request a Free Consultation

What Are Punitive Damages in Illinois Personal Injury?

Request a Free Consultation
Posted on April 3, 2024

After suffering injuries in Illinois due to another party’s negligent or intentional actions, many people understand that they have a right to file a personal injury claim. A successful claim can permit the injured person to recover compensation for losses such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.

However, some personal injury lawsuits result in another type of financial award for the injured individual: punitive damages. This category of damages is the subject of confusion for most people who are not members of the legal profession. Understanding what punitive damages are and who is eligible for them can help you know what steps to take in your Illinois personal injury case.

What Are Punitive Damages?

Punitive damages are a type of monetary award that goes beyond compensating the plaintiff for their actual losses. These damages may only be awarded when a case goes to trial. While compensatory damages aim to make the injured party “whole” again by covering accident-related losses such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, punitive damages serve a different purpose. They are designed to punish the defendant for particularly egregious or willful misconduct and to deter similar behavior in the future by both the defendant and others.

What Qualifies a Case for Punitive Damages?

In Illinois, punitive damages may be awarded in personal injury cases where the defendant’s conduct is found to be willful and wanton, fraudulent, or committed with a reckless disregard for the rights of others. This high standard is in place because punitive damages are considered an exceptional remedy for cases involving outrageous or malicious behavior rather than mere negligence.

 Punitive damages may be available in injury cases such as car accidents, injuries due to dangerous products, and slip-and-fall cases.

Are There Caps on Punitive Damages in Illinois?

While many states place caps on punitive damages for personal injury lawsuits, Illinois law does not. Juries can use their discretion when awarding punitive damages for cases in which the defendant’s behavior meets the legal threshold.

 How Can an Attorney Help?

An experienced personal injury attorney can thoroughly evaluate your case and determine whether the circumstances warrant pursuing punitive damages. If they believe you have a strong claim for punitive damages, they can gather the necessary evidence and present a compelling argument to the court. Your attorney will also ensure that any punitive damages request complies with Illinois law.

 Contact Holley, Rosen & Beard, LLC, Today

If you believe your personal injury claim qualifies you for punitive damages, working with an experienced Illinois personal injury attorney who can protect your rights is essential. The seasoned legal team at Holley, Rosen & Beard, LLC, has served injured individuals in Central Illinois for more than 50 years. We have recovered more than $10 million since 2020 alone, and our track record demonstrates our commitment to securing outstanding results.

Call us today at 1 (217) 544-3368 or contact us online for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.