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What Are Punitive Damages?

Last updated 5 years ago

If you have been hurt by an individual or corporation, filing a lawsuit can be the only way to achieve justice. Whether you have been hurt on the job or are the victim of a dog bite, only a qualified personal injury lawyer can help you determine if pursuing a trial is in your best interest. If a defendant has been seriously negligent, the court may determine that both compensatory and punitive damages are necessary to punish the wrongdoer. If you are considering filing a personal injury claim, here is what you need to know about punitive damages:

Compensatory vs. Punitive Damages

A personal injury claim filed to recover damages can end in two ways: an out-of-court settlement agreed upon by both parties, or a court judgment following a trial. If the court finds in favor of the victim, compensation may be awarded for medical expenses, loss of wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Punitive damages may be awarded on top of these compensatory damages.

Discouraging Negligence

Punitive damages are designed to hit the defendant hard financially, and thus discourage that corporation or individual from future negligence. An award of punitive damages is a strong message from the court that also deters other individuals or corporations from engaging in similar behavior.

Requesting Punitive Damages

Punitive damages may be requested in several kinds of cases, including intentional tort, automobile accidents, and employment discrimination. When deciding whether or not to seek punitive damages for a specific case, a personal injury attorney takes several factors into account, including applicable state statutes and court case precedents.

If you are considering filing a personal injury claim in Chicago, your first step is to contact a qualified personal injury attorney. At McCready, Garcia & Leet, every client is important to us. If you live in Chicago and your life has been affected by an injury caused by another's negligence, call us for a free consultation at (773) 779-9885.

 

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