Litigation Lawyers in Lake Bluff
In Lake Bluff, 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 Lake Bluff, Illinois will award damages designed to punish the wrongdoer, and deter others from future wrongdoing. This practice is known as "punitive damages."
Courts in Lake Bluff, 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 Lake Bluff, Illinois
Personal injury litigation doesn't usually carry with it the possibility of punitive damages in Lake Bluff, Illinois, because mostly personal injury cases stem from harm that was caused accidentally, not deliberately. Accidental harm is not enough to warrant an award of punitive damages in Lake Bluff, Illinois.
Punitive damages in Lake Bluff, Illinois are only awarded in the most extreme cases. Fraud, theft, assault, battery, and other intentional, immoral acts are grounds for punitive damages. Lake Bluff, Illinois courts will consider several factors in considering whether or not to award punitive damages. For instance, the court might employ a sliding scale that weighs the immorality of the defendant's conduct against the actual harm that it caused to the plaintiff, and calculate damages accordingly.
It's critical to note that in Lake Bluff, Illinois, punitive damages are not unlimited. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that punitive damages cannot be hugely disproportionate to the amount awarded to compensate the plaintiff for the actual injuries they suffered. If the punitive damages are extremely excessive, an appeals court might rule that they amount to a deprivation of property without due process of law, or a de facto criminal punishment, without affording the defendant the protections available in criminal cases.
Generally, in Lake Bluff, Illinois, punitive damage awards that exceed the actual damages (those awarded to directly compensate the plaintiff) by a factor of 10. This is not an absolute rule, nonetheless, and is applied on a case-by-case basis. Courts in Illinois have found much smaller awards to be invalid, and upheld much larger awards.
How Can a Lake Bluff, Illinois Attorney Help?
The law of Lake Bluff, Illinois doesn't lay out many strict conditions which are necessary before punitive damages can be authorized. Instead, it largely leaves it to the discretion of the courts. So, there are various situations where they might be awarded.
If you are located in Lake Bluff, Illinois, and are involved 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 Lake Bluff, Illinois civil litigation attorney