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Punitive Damages Permit Plaintiffs to Recover Greater Awards and Punish Bad Behavior

In civil claims, when a jury finds in favor of the plaintiff, the plaintiff is generally awarded damages to compensate for the injuries or damages incurred. Compensatory damages are often awarded to compensate the plaintiff for medical expenses, lost wages, mental distress, and other losses.

Punitive damages can also be awarded to plaintiffs in certain cases. In contrast to compensatory damages that are meant to compensate the plaintiff, punitive damages are awarded to punish the defendant for bad behavior and to deter others from engaging in such behavior.

Illinois law permits punitive damages awards if the defendant’s behavior demonstrated “an evil motive” or a “reckless indifference to the rights of others.” In Illinois, punitive damages are awarded for three reasons:  to deter the defendant from engaging in such behavior, to deter others from engaging in similar behavior, and to punish the defendant. In state law claims, punitive damages can be as much as three times the economic damages award. In other states and jurisdictions, the amount of allowable punitive damages varies. In any case, a punitive damages award can greatly increase the compensation a plaintiff receives, when it is available.

Jury Awards Plaintiff $2 Million Compensatory and $10.5 Million Punitive Damages in DuPont Chemical Leak Case

A jury recently awarded a man $2 million in economic damages who alleged he developed testicular cancer after a chemical leaked from one of DuPont’s plants, according to one news source. The man alleged that a chemical leaked from the company’s plant and contaminated local water supplies. The chemical, perfluorooctanoic acid, also known as PFOA or C-8, is used to make Teflon and was being used in the factory. The company manufactured Teflon components at the factory, which was located in Parkersburg, West Virginia. The plaintiff in the case, a truck driver who lived in Ohio, lived across the border from where the company’s factory was located. The man alleged the chemical leaked into the river and into his drinking water, causing his testicular cancer.

The case went to trial, and the jury found in favor of the man. The jury also determined that DuPont acted with actual malice, which allowed the jury to find punitive damages. The jury then awarded the man an additional $10.5 million in punitive damages.

There are over 3,400 lawsuits pending against DuPont, due to the chemical leak. The claims against DuPont allege a variety of health issues caused by the leak, including high cholesterol, thyroid disease, and cancer. The lawsuits allege that DuPont knew the chemical was dangerous and that it failed to take steps to keep the chemical from contaminating the area’s water supply.

Contact a Toxic Tort Attorney

If you believe you developed a health issue that may have been a result of a toxic chemical, you need to talk to an attorney as soon as possible. Toxic tort lawsuits are technical and complex, and having competent legal representation is essential. The attorneys at Moll Law Group can help victims throughout the United States file a toxic tort claim or other product liability claims. Our attorneys represent injured individuals in states such as California, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan. Call us at 312-462-1700 or through our online form to set up a free consultation.

See More Posts:

Plaintiff’s Expert’s Conclusions Protected by Work Product Doctrine, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, November 23, 2016.

Illinois Woman Fails to Show Store Was Negligent After She Falls on Rocks in Parking Lot, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, January 5, 2017.

Court Reinstates Case After Attorney Admits Fault in Failing to Pay Court Fees, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, December 14, 2016.

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