Litigation Lawyers in Worth
In Worth, 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 Worth, Illinois will award damages designed to punish the wrongdoer, and deter others from future wrongdoing. This practice is known as "punitive damages."
It's essential to note that courts in Worth, Illinois prefer not to grant punitive damages. This is because the civil justice system is designed mainly to compensate the victims of wrongdoing. Nonetheless, there are some cases where the defendant's conduct was so immoral and evil that civil courts have an interest in making them pay further 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 Worth, Illinois
A majority of personal injury litigation actions in Worth, Illinois do not involve the possibility of punitive damages, because they usually involve injuries where the defendant is at fault for the harm caused, but did not intend to do any harm. In Worth, Illinois, accidental harm may be enough to award the plaintiff compensatory damages, but it is not enough for punitive damages.
In Worth, Illinois, punitive damages are only awarded in extreme circumstances. 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 Worth, Illinois will consider many different factors. Usually, 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.
It's essential to know that punitive damages in Worth, 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 Worth, Illinois usually 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 Worth, Illinois Attorney Help?
Worth, Illinois's courts have wide discretion in awarding punitive damages. Therefore, it is impossible to comprehensively discuss all the situations in which punitive damages can arise.
If you are involved in a case in Worth, Illinois that you believe might entitle you to punitive damages, a lot of money could be at stake. So, if you want to pursue your legal remedies, you should see a Worth, Illinois civil litigation attorney as soon as possible.