What Is The Average Personal Injury Settlement In Illinois?
If you or someone you love has been injured due to the careless or negligent actions of somebody else, you may need to seek legal assistance from an experienced personal injury attorney in order to recover compensation for your losses. There are various types of compensation available in these cases, though it can be difficult to pin down how much personal injury cases are worth. Every case is different, and there are various factors involved in calculating a victim’s damages.
What types of compensation are available in these cases?
Damages awarded in a personal injury case will generally fall into the following categories: special damages, general damages, and punitive damages.
Special damages in personal injury cases
Special damages are also called economic damages. These are costs that can be calculated using hospital bills, doctor bills, receipts, income statements, etc. These damages typically include coverage for the following:
- All medical expenses related to the injury
- Coverage of any physical therapy or rehabilitation needed
- The cost of prescription medication or medical devices needed
- Various out-of-pocket expenses related to the injury
- Lost wages and benefits if a victim cannot work
- Loss of future earnings if a victim is disabled
General damages in personal injury cases
General damages are sometimes called non-economic damages. Though these damages are closely related to special damages, calculating these costs can be a bit more challenging. This is because they do not have bills or receipts to add up and compute a cost. While each case is different, general damages are typically awarded for:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Physical disfigurement
- Physical impairment
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Punitive damages in personal injury cases
In cases where the at-fault party was found to be grossly negligent or intentional when causing harm to another person, punitive damages may be awarded. Punitive damages are designed, as the name suggests, to punish a defendant for their actions and to deter future similar behavior.
Calculating your settlement amount
Calculating total damages for personal injury victims can become complicated and often requires assistance from a skilled personal injury lawyer. Working with trusted medical professionals and economic experts, an attorney will gather all documents related to the case. This will include all medical bills as well as receipts for out-of-pocket expenses related to the injuries a victim sustains. To calculate lost income, an attorney will use pay stubs, bank statements, and tax returns. If future lost earnings need to be calculated, an attorney will work with economic experts to predict how much money an employee will lose while they recover or if they are unable to return to work at all.
Calculating general damages can be more difficult, but the baseline will be how much special damages are for the case. In many instances, a multiplier will be used to calculate general damages. This means that total special damages will be added up and then multiplied by a certain number (usually 1.5 to 4) to arrive at a reasonable amount for general damages.
In some instances, a per diem method will be used to calculate general damages. This means that a total amount will be assigned for a person’s pain and suffering at a daily rate ($100, $200, $300, etc.). This daily rate will then be multiplied by the number of days that the victim is expected to experience the pain and suffering caused by their injuries.
Once again, we need to stress that each case is unique. Calculating the total damages for a victim will require extensive investigation into the particular facts related to the injury and the incident that caused the injury.
Factors affecting settlement amounts
The value of a case is going to depend heavily on the unique circumstances related to each situation. There are various factors that will determine a final settlement amount. This includes:
- The severity of the injuries and costs of initial care
- The costs of ongoing medical care and rehabilitation
- Any out-of-pocket expenses that an injury victim incurs
- The total amount of pain and suffering a victim incurs
- Loss of enjoyment of life factors
- Whether or not the at-fault party was grossly negligent or acted intentionally to cause harm
Juries tend to award the most money to persons who try to come back from their injuries and do their best to find some work and take a positive outlook on life.
It is important to also have a reasonable jury hear your case. A jury that is prejudiced against lawsuits will reduce the value of a case unfairly. Careful jury selection is a lengthy process and imperative to every case.
How does comparative negligence factor into a personal injury claim?
Many people wonder what happens if an injury victim is partially at fault for the incident that caused them harm. Under Illinois comparative negligence laws, victims who are partially responsible for their injuries can still recover compensation. Illinois works under a modified comparative negligence rule that holds that an injured plaintiff can obtain damages from a negligent party if the plaintiff is not more than 50% at fault for the incident.
However, the total amount of compensation awarded to a plaintiff will be reduced based on the percent of fault they had for the incident. For example, if a plaintiff is awarded $100,000 for their injuries, but they are found to be 20% at fault for the incident, they will receive only $80,000 of the total damages awarded.
Do you need an attorney to help calculate your personal injury damages?
If you or somebody you love has been injured due to the negligence of another person, company, or entity, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible. At Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, our accident attorneys have more than 30 years of experience and an outstanding track record in helping clients secure the compensation they deserve. We will work with experienced medical professionals and economic experts to properly calculate your total losses in order to secure compensation for your case. Please call our Chicago office at (312) 372-8822, or our Joliet office at (815) 723-8822, or you can call our toll free number at (800) 985-1819.