Suing for Punitive Damages in Hoffman Estates

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Litigation Lawyers in Hoffman Estates

In Hoffman Estates, Illinois, civil litigation serves the main purpose of compensating individuals who have been victims of wrongdoing, and not meting out punishment, vengeance, or moral judgment.

There is an exception to this basic rule, however: in certain cases, a court in Hoffman Estates, Illinois will award damages designed to punish the wrongdoer, and deter others from future wrongdoing. This practice is recognized as "punitive damages."

Courts in Hoffman Estates, Illinois do not authorize punitive damages in most cases. The civil litigation system is geared against authorizing financial windfalls to civil plaintiffs. But, there are rare cases, where the defendant has done something to the plaintiff that is so morally reprehensible, that society's interest in punishing the defendant and deterring comparable misconduct outweighs the civil justice system's preference against punitive damages.

Conduct that can give rise to punitive damages in Hoffman Estates, Illinois

Generally personal injury cases in Hoffman Estates, Illinois involve injuries that the defendant did not intend to cause, but was still at fault in causing them (through negligence, for instance). In Hoffman Estates, Illinois, this is not enough to justify the award of punitive damages.

In Hoffman Estates, Illinois, punitive damages are not awarded in most cases. They are usually only awarded when the defendant's behavior was so reckless or deplorable that punishment of the defendant is warranted. Acts such as battery, fraud, and defamation (in some cases) are usually considered sufficient in Hoffman Estates, Illinois to justify punitive damages. In deciding whether to award punitive damages, and how much to award, the two most important factors the court looks at will be the level of immorality of the act, as well as the actual harm that the plaintiff suffered as a result of the defendant's conduct.

It's crucial to know that punitive damages in Hoffman Estates, Illinois are subject to limits. The Supreme Court of the United States has held, more than once, that punitive damages can't be grossly disproportionate to the actual harm sustained by the plaintiff. Grossly excessive punitive damage awards are unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has held, because they amount to the government acquiring property from the defendant without due process of law.

Punitive damages in Hoffman Estates, Illinois normally cannot surpass 10 times the amount of actual damages suffered by the plaintiff. Nonetheless, this is just a guideline, and not a strict rule. Courts in Illinois have found larger punitive damage awards to be perfectly valid, and smaller ones to be invalid. This will be strongly dependent on the facts of each case.

How Can a Hoffman Estates, Illinois Attorney Help?

Hoffman Estates, Illinois's courts have wide discretion in awarding punitive damages. Therefore, it is impractical to comprehensively discuss all the situations in which punitive damages can arise.

If you are located in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, and are immersed in a case that you think, based on the information conveyed above, that might have punitive damages as an option, you can't be sure what, if anything, you're entitled to from the defendant until you consult with a Hoffman Estates, Illinois civil litigation attorney

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Life in Hoffman Estates

Hoffman Estates is situated to the northwest of downtown Chicago. This Cook County city is an affluent suburb that is home to 54,000 Illinois residents. Because it's an affluent city with many attractions, many lawyers call it home. Hoffman Estates lawyers are familiar with local courts and procedures, consulting on a wide range of cases. Major industry in Hoffman Estates include the headquarters of the Sears Holdings Corporation, the ATT headquarters for the Midwest, American headquarters for Japanese machine tool manufacturer Mori Seiki, and a number of sports teams.

The Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates plays host to major indoor soccer team Chicago Storm, the Chicago Slaughter indoor football team, and Chicago Bliss lingerie football team. More recently, Heartland International Tattoo relocated to the Sears Centre. It's one of the largest music and dance festivals in the Midwest. Hoffman Estates gained prominence in the mid-1960s and early 1970s when the Centex corporation began mass producing homes on adjacent lots. The location was desirable because the Northwest Tollway opened providing direct access to Chicago's downtown businesses. Soon afterward the Woodfield Mall opened and a master planned community began construction attracting a number of corporate headquarters and tourist attractions. 

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