Compensatory damages will be the only damages available in medical malpractice cases and most personal injury actions. However, when a defendant intentionally harmed the plaintiff or when their conduct demonstrated a callous indifference to the safety of others, 735 Illinois Compiled Statutes §5/2-115 allows plaintiffs to seek punitive damages.
Factors that determine whether to award punitive damages include the actual harm the defendant caused, the recklessness or cruelty of the defendant’s conduct, whether the egregious conduct was ongoing, whether the defendant attempted to hide the conduct, among other considerations. A punitive damages award should be large enough to hurt the defendant financially.
Juries award punitive damages at trials, but most personal injury actions settle before a trial. If a capable injury lawyer feels the facts of the client’s situation support a claim for punitive damages, they could incorporate the threat to seek punitive damages into their pre-trial negotiating strategy. This might result in the defendant offering a more reasonable settlement.
Discuss Your Options with a Madison County Personal Injury Attorney
Illinois allows injured people two years to bring a lawsuit seeking damages for their losses. However, a potential plaintiff who waits to hire legal representation and begin building a case risks the loss or erosion of important evidence.
Preserve your rights and strengthen your negotiating position by scheduling a consultation with a Madison County personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Working with a strong advocate enhances your chances of receiving a fair and appropriate settlement, so call today.