Litigation Lawyers in Dekalb
In Dekalb, Illinois, the civil litigation system is primarily concerned with compensating the victims of wrongdoing, rather than punishing the wrongdoers, or casting moral blame upon them.
Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. In Dekalb, Illinois, courts will, in relatively rare cases, require defendants to pay plaintiffs sums of money which aren't calculated by the actual harm and costs the plaintiff has incurred. Rather, these "punitive damages," as they are called, are meant to punish and deter wrongdoing.
It's essential to note that courts in Dekalb, Illinois prefer not to grant punitive damages. This is because the civil justice system is designed primarily to compensate the victims of wrongdoing. However, there are some cases where the defendant's conduct was so immoral and evil that civil courts have an interest in making them pay additional damages, going above and beyond what's needed to compensate the victim, in order to serve as a deterrent.
Conduct that can give rise to punitive damages in Dekalb, Illinois
A majority of personal injury litigation actions in Dekalb, Illinois do not involve the possibility of punitive damages, because they normally involve injuries where the defendant is at fault for the harm caused, but did not intend to do any harm. In Dekalb, Illinois, accidental harm may be enough to award the plaintiff compensatory damages, but it is not enough for punitive damages.
In Dekalb, Illinois, punitive damages are only awarded in extreme situations. Civil wrongs such as fraud, conversion (theft), battery, and other intentional, depraved acts are sufficient to award punitive damages. In deciding whether or not to award punitive damages, and how much money to award, courts in Dekalb, Illinois will consider many different factors. Normally, they employ a sliding scale, weighing the nature of the conduct and the actual harm that the conduct caused. The more immoral the conduct, and/or the more harm caused, the more likely a court is to award punitive damages.
There are limits on punitive damages in Dekalb, Illinois. The Supreme Court has held that punitive damage awards which are grossly disproportionate to the immorality of the conduct, and the harm that it caused, are an unconstitutional deprivation of property without due process of law.
In Dekalb, Illinois, punitive damage awards are usually (but not always) capped at 10 times the amount awarded in compensatory damages. Remember, however, that this is just a general rule of thumb, and is not completely rigid. In Illinois, appeals courts have a good deal of discretion in deciding if a punitive damage award is valid or invalid. Much larger awards have been upheld, and smaller awards have been overturned. The validity of a particular punitive damage award will depend heavily on the facts of each case.
How Can a Dekalb, Illinois Attorney Help?
Dekalb, Illinois's courts have wide discretion in awarding punitive damages. Accordingly, it is impractical to comprehensively discuss all the situations in which punitive damages can arise.
If you are immersed in a case in Dekalb, Illinois where punitive damages are a possibility, a very large amount of money could be at stake, whether you are the plaintiff or defendant. You should not hesitate to speak with a civil litigation attorney in Dekalb, Illinois