As with any car accident, you are entitled to seek damages for the injuries you incurred because of the negligence of another driver. Some states impose what are known as punitive damages for certain personal injury claims. Knowing how punitive damages are handled for DUI accidents in Illinois is important, and a Chicago personal injury lawyer can help.
The Basics of Punitive Damages
Punitive damages were introduced to award additional compensation to victims beyond reasonable compensatory damages. Most personal injury claims seek compensation for medical expenses and lost wages, both of which can be assigned a solid dollar amount. Even with estimated future medical damages, a reasonable figure can usually be decided.
Punitive damages are more ambiguous, and in most cases, there is no maximum dollar amount they can exceed
. The amount of punitive damages is usually determined by the amount awarded for compensatory damages, and capped at a 4:1 ratio. This means the amount of punitive damages rarely exceeds 4 times the compensatory damages in a DUI accident case.
It is important to note however, that punitive damages are reserved for cases of DUI that go above the beyond typical negligence and show intentional misconduct on the part of the defendant.
Justification of Punitive Damages
Punitive damages were introduced for many reasons:
- to prevent under-compensation of victims
- to deter reckless or malicious behavior
- to discourage actions which cause negligence
For these reasons, punitive damages are also known as “exemplary damages” as they work to set an example for others who may engage in potentially dangerous or malicious acts.
In the case of a DUI accident in Illinois, punitive damages seek to set an example in the case and deter others from causing a DUI accident
. This is done by showing how the drunk driver is financially punished in addition to criminal charges.
Each state views the awarding of punitive damages differently, so it’s important to know how this may effect your case settlement. Continue on to see how Illinois courts handle punitive damages in a DUI accident claim and how a Chicago personal injury lawyer can evaluate your chances for awarding of punitive damages.
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