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Monday, May 8, 2017
After an accident, you might find yourself inundated with endless expenses. Naturally, because of your injuries, you are working less or not at all. So, you seek compensation to cover those medical costs, property damage, and your loss of income. In order to get compensation, you file a personal injury claim, wherein you seek damages. Damages come in two broad categories: Compensatory and punitive.
From there, compensatory damages are further broken down, while punitive damages stay relatively simple. Despite how many various forms of compensation are available to you, it is critical to understand that not all claims qualify for the same benefits. Furthermore, your case might receive more or less than a similar accident, based on the facts, evidence, and so forth.
Compensatory and punitive damages are not the same. Each is awarded separately by the judge or jury overseeing the case. When examining these forms of damages, there are two distinct differences:
The state of Illinois deploys the comparative negligence rule. This affects a person’s compensation in a personal injury claim. Under the modified comparative negligence and pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/2-1116, an injured party can recover damages only if they are 50 percent or less at fault for their injuries. If the judge or jury determines that they are 51 percent or higher, they cannot collect compensatory damages.
If a victim has any percentage of fault assigned to him or her under modified comparative fault law, that percentage will reduce compensatory damages. For example, say a victim is provided $100,000 in compensatory damages, but the courts determine him or her to be 10 percent at fault for injuries. Therefore, 10 percent of the $100,000, or $20,000, is deducted from the settlement and the victim receives $90,000. Victims might have a percentage of comparative negligence assigned if they fail to exercise reasonable care for their safety.
Sadly, many defense attorneys use comparative negligence as a defense to lower a victim’s compensation. It is important, then, that an accident victim seeks legal representation to ensure the settlement is not decreased based on a false argument from the defense.
Another defense that might lessen or eliminate compensatory damages is the “assumption of risk” theory. This means that the victim voluntarily consented to a known danger. Therefore, the defense might argue that they should not be liable for damages because an assumption of risk was present.
Compensatory damages consist of one to three possible items, including:
The loss in value of the plaintiff’s performance – a performance they have the right to expect – is assessed. This is typically seen in a breach of contract lawsuit, and not used in accident claims.
Economic damages are the direct result of the negligent act. These damages are easily calculated and refer to tangible losses that the plaintiff endures. Often, the plaintiff has bills and receipts for these costs, making it easy to prove the losses to the court.
Some forms of economic damages include, but are not limited to:
Non-economic damages are those that cover intangible costs endured by the plaintiff. These non-economic damages do not have receipts; they are usually projected by multipliers of the economic damages.
Some forms of non-economic damages might include:
Punitive damages are awarded when the judge or jury feels the defendant’s actions warrant punishment. Not all cases qualify for punitive damages, and rarely are they seen unless there was gross negligence or malicious intent. A minuscule margin of personal injury cases see punitive damages, and these are often just a few thousand dollars, while there are rare instances of million-dollar punitive damage awards.
Some infamous cases where punitive damages were awarded include:
In rare instances when punitive damages are awarded, certain factors must be present. The acts of the defense must be reprehensible, and the defendant will serve as a public punishment example.
Certain elements which the court looks for when awarding punitive damages include:
The courts do not have a specific calculation or formula for picking punitive damages. Naturally, the more harm and compensatory damages the plaintiff has, the higher the punitive award might be. Also, there are no limitations in Illinois on the maximum damages allowed in punitive form. However, the courts have struck down excessive awards. A single digit multiplier is more likely than double-digit multipliers to apply to punitive damages. However, the statute has no definition of “proportions” – thus, this leaves it to the discretion of the judge.
Typically, the punitive damages will not exceed four times the compensatory damage value. Therefore, if a plaintiff receives $100,000 in compensatory damages, the punitive damages would not exceed $400,000. Larger ratios, such as 10:1, are labeled unconstitutional.
Other factors are taken into consideration by the court when determining punitive damages. These include, but are not limited to:
High amounts of punitive damages are only awarded in special cases, such as:
After your injury, it is imperative that you speak with a personal injury attorney in Chicago. Malman Law’s team of injury advocates will help calculate what damages you are entitled to, and discuss options for the types of damages you might claim.
They are very helpful, and when it comes to getting things done with your case I had the pleasure of working with Jason Kellerman he was awesome I highly recommend them.
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I’ve been knowing about this Law firm for many years through friends, referrals & advertisements, never I thought I would need their services because I believed things & situations don’t happen to me like this, long story short I was in a situation that I needed help & advice!!! In the right direction, I connected with the Firm & a very patient, understanding professional woman by the name of Margie assisted me in what I needed 🙂 Thank you I will refer as I was as referred as well This firm really does care!
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I was rear-ended by a semi-truck on my way to work. I was transported to the hospital and my car was totaled. In the aftermath, Dan Petrich and Anna Schmidt from Malman Law helped me get set up with physical therapy and negotiated with the insurance companies to make sure the resulting settlement would cover my medical bills and a rental car until I could get a new car. I would highly recommend their services.
would do everything they could for me.
- Tony S.
I contacted Malman Lawafter my work injury. So professional from my first phone call. Mr. Malman’s investigator, Dan, came right out to our home. Everything was explained in detail so I know what to expect during this process. I certainly recommend anyone ever in need of a personal injury lawyer to call Malman Law. Truly the best!! Thanks, everyone!
- Devin Jones
Attorney Greg Lamorena was my lawyer when I slipped and fell. He kept me updated throughout the case and was always available to talk when I had questions. He is a great lawyer and could not be happier about my settlement!
- Annie Ong
Alexis was the attorney on my case! She kept me in the loop about everything with my case. If I had any concerns I was able to contact her and she’ll answer my questions right away. If you’re interested in working with Malman Law I would highly recommend Alexis she was GREAT. I would highly recommend Malman Law if you’re ever in need!
- Eugenia Cathery
They are so efficient and professional. Always available to help. Attorney Boyer was great and very good with my case. I really appreciate Malman Law. I gave them 5 stars because there is nothing higher.
- Omolewa Snyder
I have had an amazing experience with Malman law so far. From the start, Dan was super easy to work with, got me the medical attention I needed, and fast. Couldn’t ask for better communication. Neil Kilcoyne has been nothing but the best I could not recommend a better attorney. Malman Law is a 10 out of 10 law firm.
- Trevor Harris
Hi, I just want to acknowledge Jay McCarron, Kelly & the firm at Malman Law for representing me as they continue to work on my case. Thanks for keeping me updated & responding quickly to any of my questions or concerns. I would highly recommend you and your firm to friends & family. E. P.
- Ernest Pitts
Alexis was the attorney on my case and she was GREAT. She made sure I was updated on everything about my case. I would highly recommend Malman Law if you’re ever in need.
- Ariel Fleming
I had the best experience with Jason and Jay attorneys from Malman Law they really went all the way to settle my case I’m telling you there just the best!! Recommend 100%!
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Adam Meadow acted as the attorney for a family member who was in a car accident. He was highly personable and actively listened to our issues throughout the litigation process. He was able to get us a settlement for the reparations of the accident. We would recommend their services!
- Greg Gustafson
Excellent customer service and a great experience. Malman Law handled the whole process and it was very smooth. The settlement was a great success. I would choose Malman Law again in the future.
- Malak St.Clair
Helped me out of a big jam when my auto was hit twice when and the other drivers had no insurance. Adam Meadow is the only Lawyer I will call for helping me and my daughter.
- Devri Lott
I cannot give enough praise to the team at Malman Law, for helping with my case. My children were involved in an auto collision and the attorney Adam along with his paralegal Michelle worked diligently until the matter was resolved and my entire family was happy. I would definitely recommend Malman Law for anybody going through legal troubles.
- Adrian Lopez
A close friend recommended me to Malman Law. I currently have a case with them due to a car accident I had and ever since the accident they have been taking care of everything for me without me having to worry about anything. They took care of the medical bills & helped me get physical therapy right away. I highly recommend them.
- Vanessa Leon
Bella Feinstein, Jason Kellerman, and Terry Davey have been instrumental in helping me through many difficult situations. Not only did they work to get my mom a settlement, but they have also continued to help me through the legal process of relocating my mom to a different state. I’m very grateful for their hard work and good advice.
- Nyah Vuljanic
This law firm is the best they got me paid and Malman Law kept in constant communication with me which meant a lot to me I would highly recommend this law firm to anyone who. In the position, they are awesome sincerely. Jeff walker
- Jeff Walker
Mr. Kellerman of Malman Law shows compassion for his clients. Returns calls and emails promptly, he takes time to listen to his clients, and gather facts accordingly.
- Steve Acosta
Everyone at Malman Law made me feel welcomed and heard. My lawyer, Adam Meadow, as well as staff, kept me up to date and were more than happy to do so! I would highly recommend their services. Also- a plus is many employees are fluent in Spanish. My experience was easy and worthwhile.
- Adrianna Gomez
Dan Petrich was the best man for my case of falling through my porch of an apartment I rented. He made sure I got what I deserved not only $ wise but medical wise and that my hospital bills and Dr bills were left at a $0 balance before closing my case. I was definitely happy and glad I choose him. Thank you. 5 stars
- Jose Cruz
Steve Malman helped me with my auto case. He quickly responded and answered any and all the questions I had. My case was a success as well as 2 other family members I recommended to him won their cases as well. Definitely a 5 star!
- Meagan Cruz
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I am very impressed with Malman Law and my experience with Tiffany Alberty. She was very professional and knowledgeable. I appreciate the great communication and never felt out of the loop. She was very patient and hard working on my case. I would highly recommend this firm. Thanks for the hard work and all your help!
- Madissen Miller
Malman Law is definitely professionals and skilled at what they do. Mr. Adam Meadow always kept me informed and never hesitated to answer my questions and was open to hearing my concerns. Wouldn’t think twice about referring them to family and friends. Thank you to all at Malman Law!
- Christina Ocon
Mailman Law, Excellent firm!! Tiffany Alberty and her assistant Margie Gallegos were super efficient and knowledgeable. Great communication—very quick response and great follow up! My case was resolved sooner than expected. I highly recommend them!
- Adriana Martinez
So glad I contacted Malman Law regarding my accident. Professional and caring. Thank you Mr. Malman. I most definitely recommend to anyone if you need the best to call Malman Law!!!
- Virgil Sanner
I really appreciated and enjoyed Yennin Calderon’s service. I called asking questions and she was so helpful. Not only did she answer all my questions and concerns. It was also a bonus that she was bilingual in Spanish! Loved the warmth she brought. Thank you!
- Jazlyn Caraballo
My experience with Malman Law was great. I worked with Attorney Tiffany Alberty and her assistant Margie. Both communicated what was going on with my case, explained the next steps, and got my case resolved early. I would highly recommend Malman Law.
- Ashley Jenkins
2 years ago I was involved in a trucking accident involving a 14-wheeler truck that nearly disabled me for life. Steve fought to make sure that I received the most possible compensation for my injuries. I was about to take the insurance company’s lowball offer, but decided to call Steve first – it was the best decision I’ve made yet
NOAH TAFFELPersonal Injury Victim