Suing for Punitive Damages in Peoria

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Litigation Lawyers in Peoria

In Peoria, 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 Peoria, Illinois will award damages designed to punish the wrongdoer, and deter others from future wrongdoing. This practice is recognized as "punitive damages."

Courts in Peoria, 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 Peoria, Illinois

Generally personal injury cases in Peoria, Illinois do not involve punitive damages, because the defendant did not intend to cause harm, or act with some other form of malice. Rather, most of these cases involve situations where the defendant acted carelessly, but did not actually intend to cause harm. This is enough to award compensatory damages, but it is far from sufficient to award punitive damages in Peoria, Illinois.

In Peoria, 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 Peoria, 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.

You should be cognizant of the fact that there are some pretty severe limits on punitive damages in Peoria, Illinois. The U.S. Supreme Court has found that there are constitutional limits on punitive damage awards. Punitive damages can't be too disproportionate to the actual damages that the plaintiff has suffered. Appeals courts have found that excessive punitive damage awards violate the defendant's right to due process, by depriving them of massive amounts of property.

A good rule of thumb for calculating the upper limit of punitive damages in Peoria, Illinois is that punitive damages can be no larger than compensatory damages times ten. This rule is not absolute, of course. Courts in Illinois have a good deal of discretion in awarding punitive damages, and will decide them based on the facts of each case. Because of this, punitive damage awards larger than 10 times compensatory damages are occasionally upheld, while much smaller awards have been overturned, because they were deemed excessive in a certain case.

How Can a Peoria, Illinois Attorney Help?

In Peoria, Illinois, there are a large variety of situations in which punitive damages are appropriate, because the decision to grant punitive damages is largely up to the discretion of the jury.

If you are located in Peoria, 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 Peoria, Illinois civil litigation attorney

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Life in Peoria

Peoria, Illinois is a city in Peoria County, of which it serves as the county seat. It has a population of about 115,000, making it the seventh-largest city in Illinois.

Peoria is named after the Peoria tribe of Native Americans. Peoria, Illinois is considered by many people, because of its demographics and mainstream values, to be the quintessential representation of the average American city, to the point that many marketers use the phrase "Will it play in Peoria?" as a shorthand for evaluating whether or not a product, service, piece of entertainment, etc. will appeal to a wide swath of the mainstream American public. Also, Peoria, Illinois is frequently used as a test market for new products, largely for the reasons just discussed.

Because Peoria, Illinois is such an accurate cross section of the United States, the lawyers of Peoria, Illinois are highly skilled in practicing the areas of law that average people are likely to face, like family law, personal injury, bankruptcy, etc.

So, the chances are very good that if you are in or around Peoria, Illinois, and need legal advice, there's a good chance that a Peoria, Illinois attorney will be able to help you with your issue.

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