When another party causes you injury, you can pursue a personal injury claim for damages. The damages you receive depend on the facts of your case. However, you can generally receive reimbursement for economic damages and compensation for non-economic damages.
Damages are the money you receive for your losses. Non-economic damages compensate you for pain and suffering. These damages are more difficult to calculate but can be a substantial portion of your personal injury settlement.
What Types of Personal Injury Cases Lead to Pain and Suffering Damages?
- Drunk driving accidents
- Bus accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Hit-and-run accidents
- Motorcycle crashes
- Large truck accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Bicycle accidents
Workplace accidents, premises liability, wrongful death, and childhood injuries can also cause significant pain and suffering. Insurance companies often downplay pain and suffering damages. Our Chicago personal injury lawyers understand how to develop cases to maximize non-economic damages to get you the best possible settlement for your injury claim.
What Are Pain and Suffering Damages in a Chicago Personal Injury Case?
When you are in an accident or are injured, the injuries can cause physical, emotional, and mental suffering. The court cannot undo what happened to you or the suffering you experienced because of another party’s actions. However, it can hold the negligent party financially liable for these damages.
Physical Pain and Suffering
Physical injuries can cause extreme discomfort lasting days, weeks, or months. In some cases, a person could face a lifetime of chronic pain because of a personal injury.
Common physical injuries that cause pain and suffering include:
- Neck injuries and whiplash
- Back injuries, including spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
- Fractures and broken bones
- Nerve damage and soft tissue injury
- Loss of limbs and amputations
- Organ damage
- Lacerations and puncture wounds
A permanent disability or impairment can cause long-term suffering. In addition to the physical pain through the settlement date, your attorney negotiates additional compensation to compensate you for ongoing pain.
Emotional Distress and Mental Anguish
The other category of non-economic damages includes the emotional and mental suffering you endure from an accident or personal injury. Examples of emotional distress and mental anguish include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Depression and anxiety
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Panic attacks and fear
- Cognitive changes
- Changes in eating and sleeping, including developing eating and sleep disorders
- Embarrassment related to disfigurement and scarring
- Diminished quality of life
Injuries do not need to be severe to cause intense emotional suffering. However, severe injuries, disfigurement, and permanent impairments often increase the value of emotional distress and mental anguish.
How Much Can I Receive for Pain and Suffering Damages?
There is no standard pain and suffering calculator to value damages. Illinois does not have a statutory formula for placing a value on non-economic damages.
Putting a price on a person’s pain and suffering is challenging. Everyone’s suffering is unique to that person. Therefore, you look at the factors in the case to determine the severity of the suffering.
Factors that impact the value of pain and suffering damages include, but are not limited to:
- The type of injuries sustained
- Whether the person sustained significant scarring and disfigurement
- If the person has a permanent disability or disfigurement
- The duration of the person’s recovery
- Whether the person had to have surgeries and therapies
- The person’s appearance before and after the injury
- Whether the person can return to work, hobbies, and regular activities
- The person’s ability to maintain relationships with family, friends, and other people
Typically, catastrophic injuries and disabilities increase the value of pain and suffering. However, you must still place a value on the pain and suffering you experienced.
A common method for calculating pain and suffering is the multiplier method. A number between 1.5 and five is assigned based on the factors of the case.
The more severe the injury and the consequences of the injury, the higher the value of damages. For example, a case involving permanent paralysis or amputation might use a five as the multiplier. On the other hand, a person who sustains a broken leg that heals in several months with no permanent impairment might receive a multiplier of three.
The total amount of economic damages times the multiplier equals the value of non-economic damages. Therefore, if the multiplier is three and the economic damages total $150,000, the value of non-economic damages would be $450,000.
Proving the Value of Pain and Suffering Damages in a Personal Injury Case
In a personal injury case, you can use bills, invoices, and receipts to prove how much your economic damages are worth. However, there is no “bill” for pain and suffering.
Therefore, we use other evidence to prove non-economic damages. Evidence includes:
- Medical records
- Statements from your physicians
- Opinions from medical specialists
- Videos and photographs
- Records from therapists and mental health professionals
- Testimony from friends and family members
A pain and suffering journal can help prove the severity of your suffering. Personal documentation can be an essential piece of evidence. Keep detailed notes about your recovery, including your emotional state, physical discomfort, and activities you cannot perform because of your injuries.
What Is the Deadline for Filing a Claim for Pain and Suffering Damages in Chicago, IL?
Non-economic damages are included in the personal injury claim. Therefore, the deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit applies.
Most personal injury claims have a two-year statute of limitations in Illinois. However, exceptions change the deadline for filing a claim or lawsuit.
For example, claims against the government have a very short deadline. Therefore, you should contact our office as soon as possible if a government agency could be liable for your damages.
On the other hand, exceptions to the general rule could extend the time to file a claim for a childhood injury. If you do not discover you sustained an injury, the deadline could begin when you should have reasonably known about the deadline.
However, you should never rely on exceptions to set a deadline. If you do not file a lawsuit before the deadline, you lose your right to pursue a legal claim in court. Therefore, it is always best to seek legal advice as soon as possible after your injury or accident.
Call Us To Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers
You deserve compensation for the pain and suffering caused by another party. Contact Attorneys of Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers our law firm to schedule a free case evaluation at (312) 929-2884 with one of our experienced Chicago personal injury attorneys.