Does Illinois Have Damage Caps on Personal Injury Cases?

If you or a loved one have been injured due to the careless or negligent actions of another individual, company, or business in Illinois, you should be entitled to various types of compensation for your losses. There is no way to properly estimate the value of your personal injury claim without fully evaluating your situation, but you do need to know that there are no damage caps in place for personal injury claims in Illinois.

What Are Damage Caps

Various jurisdictions throughout the United States place a limitation on the number of damages that can be recovered, particularly concerning non-economic compensation. Each state decides its own “damage cap,” and the federal government places a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages, but only for medical malpractice claims.

In 2005, Illinois enacted a law that placed a cap on damages for non-economic losses in medical malpractice cases. However, this law was overturned in 2010 after the court determined that it was a violation of the Illinois constitution. The court ruled that decisions regarding any damages should be reserved to juries and judges.

Possible Damages in Personal Injury Cases

When you file a lawsuit against the individual or entity that allegedly caused your injury, you typically hope to obtain some sort of compensation for your losses. Typically, the damages are organized into “economic damages” and “non-economic damages.”

Economic damages refer to specific costs you incur as a result of the injury, including:

  • Medical bills caused by the injury
  • Lost wages if a victim cannot work
  • Any out-of-pocket expenses the victim incurs

Non-economic damages refer to other types of losses, such as:

  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental suffering
  • Disfigurement and scarring damages
  • Loss of enjoyment of life damages
  • Loss of consortium for a spouse

A jury may also choose to award punitive damages on behalf of the injury victims and against the alleged negligent party. Punitive damages are reserved for cases when the negligent party is guilty of gross negligence or intentional conduct in the case.

Illinois Comparative Negligence

Illinois operates under modified comparative negligence law. This means that a person can still receive compensation for their injuries so long as they are not more than 50% responsible for the incident. However, the total amount of compensation a victim receives will be reduced based on their percentage of fault. Any injury victim in Illinois that is determined to have been 50% or more at fault for their injury will not be able to recover compensation from the alleged negligent party in the case.

For example, if a jury awards $100,000 to a car accident victim for their injuries, but also determined that the victim was 20% responsible for their injury, then the victim would receive $80,000 in total compensation as opposed to the full 100,000 dollars. If the injury victim was 60% responsible for the incident, they would receive $0 in compensation, regardless of how injured they are.

Injury victims, when working to navigate the complexities of securing compensation for their cases, would benefit greatly from the assistance of a skilled personal injury lawyer in Chicago. An attorney will have a thorough understanding of these cases, including the various types of compensation available. Negligence lawyers have the resources necessary to investigate the incident, determine liability, and obtain maximum compensation for their clients.