SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. La Shawn K. Ford, D-Chicago, backed a plan Tuesday that would enable punitive damages in cases of wrongful death actions, expanding current law and helping families receive the justice they deserve.
“Right now, you have less liability if your actions lead to the death of someone instead of injuring them,” Ford said. “This is not fair for victims, and it’s not fair for their families. After listening to families impacted by airplane crashes, I introduced similar legislation twice before. I’m glad to see it finally moving forward, and am appreciative of the opportunity to work on this with state Rep. Jay Hoffman who has been a strong and needed voice on the subject. This measure is a step in the right direction, and will help to curtail wrongful behavior.”
Ford, who has been an advocate on the issue for years, supported House Bill 219, which would extend recoverable punitive damages in wrongful death actions – an ability not allowed under current law. Punitive damages must be pursued through court, and are designed to punish and deter future bad conduct from a defendant. There are no caps on the punitive damages amount in Illinois. Some entities, including actions against the state or a unit of local government, would be exempt from the change.
“This will apply to incidents that are clearly reprehensible, intentional and reckless,” Ford said. “This update to our laws is long overdue, and I encourage the state Senate to act on this right away.”
For more information, please contact RepFord@LaShawnFord.com.
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