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Chicago Personal Injury Attorneys - Malman LawWhen exploring your options for a personal injury claim, you may find yourself trying to understand the two categories of damages: compensatory and punitive. While most personal injury claims successfully obtain compensatory damages, not all claims qualify for punitive damages.

Punitive damages carry a two-fold purpose: to punish the defendant for their behavior and to deter others in the public or in a similar situation from doing the same. Punitive damages are much different than compensatory damages and they do not reimburse the plaintiff for any economic losses due to their injury.

Compensatory Damages

A personal injury claim is based on losses that a plaintiff faces. These include:

  • Medical expenses (past, current, and future)
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering

After compensatory damages have been calculated, the court will then decide if punitive damages are necessary and, if so, add the punitive damage award on top of the compensatory damage award.

Does My Case Qualify for Punitive Damages?

As mentioned above, punitive damages are not given in all personal injury claims – in fact, only a select few will ever see punitive damages. To receive punitive damages, the court must assess the facts of the claim, as well as the behavior or actions taken by the defendant. When the defendant’s actions are considered reprehensible, punitive damages may be awarded.

To determine if a case qualifies for punitive damages, the court will look specifically for the following elements:

  1. The plaintiff must first be awarded other damages, such as compensatory damages or restitutional damages. Punitive damages are never awarded on their own.
  2. The defendant must have acted more than negligently; instead, their actions must be reprehensible, malicious, and/or intentional.

How Damages are Calculated

Punitive damages are awarded in relative proportion to the compensatory damages. The actual amount is typically based on the degree of seriousness of the acts that resulted in the harm to the plaintiff.

However, note that punitive damages are capped in Illinois – they cannot exceed three times the amount of general damages under Illinois statutes. For example, for small verdicts, which are less than $100,000, punitive damages cannot exceed $300,000. These damage caps do not apply to product liability claims or bad faith claims.

Exploring Your Options for Compensation

If you have a potential personal injury claim, speak with an attorney at Malman Law today. Our attorneys can assess the facts of your case and determine if you may be eligible to receive punitive damages on top of the prospective compensatory damage amount. Call for a free consultation appointment at 888-247-2160 or fill out an online contact form with your questions.

Firm Awards & Recognitions

Steven Malman was selected to the list. The list is issued by the American Institute of Legal Counsel. A description of the selection methodology can be found at http://www.aiopia.org/selection/.

  • Steven Malman was selected to the list. The list is issued by the National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys. A description of the selection methodology can be found at http://www.naopia.com/selection-process.

  • Steven Malman was selected to the list for 2018-2019.

  • Only the top 100 trial lawyers from each state or highly-populated regions of certain states who are actively practicing in civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense law are eligible for invitation. Invitees must demonstrate superior qualifications, leadership skills, and trial results as a legal professional. The selection process for this elite honor is based on a multi-phase process based upon objective and uniformly applied criteria which includes peer nominations combined with third party research.

    Prospective members of The NTL are carefully screened prior to receiving an invitation for membership.

  • Top Attorneys Diamond Member

  • Top Attorneys of North America 2019-2020

  • The American Institute of Trial Lawyers is an invitation only professional organization composed of premier trial attorneys from each state. These attorneys exemplify the very best qualities and qualifications of an attorney. Each attorney must meet stringent qualifications as a civil or criminal trial attorney. These attorneys practice in a variety of fields to help and promote the ethical and elite practice of law. Selection is based on a thorough multi phase process which includes peer nominations and third party research. Each member must be in good standing with their local compliance organization. Membership is extended to only a select few in each state and/or region.

  • As the founder of Steven J. Malman and Associates, P.C., Attorney Steven Malman has 21 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, premises liability, construction and workers’ compensation cases. Mr. Malman is one of Chicago’s leading authorities on personal injury law and has taken a special interest in defending the elderly from neglect and abuse. He has personally handled over 10,000 cases successfully, and collected hundreds of millions dollars for his clients.

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