When a party causes you injury in Illinois because of negligence, intentional torts, strict liability, or other wrongdoing, you can pursue a personal injury case for injuries, financial losses, and suffering. Damages are available in all types of personal injury cases, including car accidents, medical malpractice, slip and fall accidents, and many more. The types of damages you can receive depend on the circumstances and facts of your case.
The law cannot undo the consequences of a negligent or intentional act. It cannot go back in time and stop you from being injured. Therefore, damages are the remedy the court offers to make you “whole” after an accident or personal injury.
Damages represent your monetary losses, pain, and suffering. Some personal injury lawsuits could result in punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages. There are two categories of compensatory damages: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic Damages in a Chicago Personal Injury Case
When someone sustains an injury, they incur financial expenses and costs.
Economic damages compensate them for these costs.
Examples of economic damages include:
- Medical bills and expenses
- Rehabilitative therapies
- Property damage
- Household services and personal care
- Lost wages and benefits
- In-home nursing care
- Out-of-pocket expenses
Economic damages may also include an amount for future damages. These are the costs you are expected to incur because your injuries caused a permanent impairment or disability.
Examples of future economic damages include:
- Long-term nursing and/or personal care
- Modifications to your home or vehicle to accommodate your impairment or disability
- Future loss of income and decreased earning capacity
- Ongoing costs for medical care and treatment
Calculating the cost of future damages can be challenging. Our legal team works with top-rated expert witnesses to determine how much future damages are worth. These individuals may include financial professionals, medical specialists, life care planners, and economists.
Illinois does not cap the amount of economic damages you can receive. Therefore, we pursue the total amount of expenses, costs, and financial loss you incurred because of the other party’s wrongful acts.
Non-Economic Damages in a Chicago Personal Injury Case
In addition to your financial losses, you also experience pain and suffering because of an accident or personal injury. The law allows you to receive compensation for these non-economic damages.
Examples of the damages awarded for pain and suffering include:
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
- Physical pain and discomfort
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Diminished quality of life
- Impairments and disabilities
The value of your non-economic damages depends on the facts of your case. There is no standard formula or calculator used to determine how much these damages are worth. Factors that could impact the value of your non-economic damages include:
- The type of injuries you sustained
- The duration of your recovery
- The types of medical treatment required to treat your injuries
- The severity of impairments or disabilities
- Whether you sustained significant scarring or disfigurement
- The impact your injuries and/or impairments have on your daily life and emotional well-being
- Whether you can work and earn an income
Our legal team works with you to document pain and suffering damages. Keeping a pain and suffering journal detailing your recovery and how your injuries impact all areas of your life can help establish the extent of your suffering and pain.
Punitive Damages in a Chicago Personal Injury Case
Punitive damages are awarded by juries in a limited number of personal injury lawsuits. The damages “punish” and discourage at-fault parties and others from engaging in the same or similar activity in the future.
For judges or juries to award punitive damages, the Illinois punitive damages statute requires that they find the defendant acted with:
- Evil motive; or,
- An outrageous or reckless indifference to the substantial unreasonable risk of harm to another person with a conscious indifference to the safety and rights of others
The burden of proof for punitive damages is higher than compensatory damages. You must prove the above elements by clear and convincing evidence.
How Does Comparative Fault Impact Damages in a Chicago Personal Injury Case?
Illinois uses a modified comparative fault standard to apportion damages in a personal injury case. If jurors or a judge decides you are partially to blame for the cause of your injuries, your compensation could be reduced by your level of fault.
For instance, jurors determine you were 30% at fault for causing a car accident. They award you $100,000 for damages. Instead of receiving the total damages award, the amount is reduced by 30% or $30,000.
However, if you are found to be 51% or more at fault for causing your injuries, you are barred from receiving compensation for your injuries. Therefore, comparative fault allegations could significantly impact how much you receive for damages.
Your Chicago personal injury lawyer should aggressively fight allegations of comparative negligence. It is in your best interest to allow our lawyers to handle all communications with the insurance company. Insurance adjusters are skilled in getting people to say things that could be intentionally misinterpreted to imply the person was at fault for their injuries.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Damages Claims in Illinois?
Your damages are included in your personal injury claim. Illinois has a two-year statute of limitations for most personal cases. Therefore, if you do not file a lawsuit before the deadline expires, a judge could dismiss your lawsuit without considering the merits of your claim.
However, the time to file a personal injury claim involving a government entity is much shorter. Other exceptions to the statute of limitations and factors in your case could lengthen the time to file a personal injury lawsuit.
It is never wise to assume you have enough time to file a lawsuit. Instead, speaking with an attorney as soon as possible can prevent you from missing a deadline. An attorney analyzes the circumstances in your case to determine the deadline that applies to your case.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Chicago Personal Injury Attorneys
At Attorneys of Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers, our legal team works diligently to maximize the amount you receive for your personal injury case. We aggressively pursue all sources of compensation and all liable parties. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with an experienced Chicago personal injury attorney. You can call us at (312) 929-2884.