Litigation Lawyers in South Barrington
In South Barrington, Illinois, civil litigation serves the primary purpose of compensating people who have been victims of wrongdoing, and not meting out punishment, vengeance, or moral judgment.
There is an exception to this general rule, however: in some cases, a court in South Barrington, Illinois will award damages designed to punish the wrongdoer, and deter others from future wrongdoing. This practice is recognized as "punitive damages."
It's important to note that courts in South Barrington, 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 South Barrington, Illinois
Generally personal injury cases in South Barrington, Illinois involve injuries that the defendant did not intend to cause, but was still at fault in causing them (through negligence, for example). In South Barrington, Illinois, this is not enough to justify the award of punitive damages.
Punitive Damages in South Barrington, Illinois are only awarded in cases where the actions of the plaintiff was intentional and highly immoral, or extremely reckless. In South Barrington, Illinois, torts such as fraud, gross negligence, and theft are sufficient to award punitive damages. Courts consider numerous factors when deciding whether or not punitive damages are warranted. Courts will look at the nature of the act, as well as the defendant's intent in performing the act. This will be weighed, on a sliding scale, against the actual harm that the defendant's conduct caused to the plaintiff.
It's important to know that punitive damages in South Barrington, 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 suffered by the plaintiff. Grossly excessive punitive damage awards are unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has held, because they amount to the government taking property from the defendant without due process of law.
In general, punitive damages in South Barrington, Illinois cannot be more than 10 times larger than the actual damages suffered by the plaintiff. However, this is not an absolute rule, and appeals courts in Illinois have upheld much larger awards, and found much smaller awards to be invalid. It's determined on a case-by-case basis.
How Can a South Barrington, Illinois Attorney Help?
In South Barrington, Illinois, there are a large number of cases 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 immersed in a case in South Barrington, Illinois that you believe might entitle you to punitive damages, a lot of money could be at stake. Therefore, if you want to pursue your legal remedies, you should see a South Barrington, Illinois civil litigation attorney as soon as possible.