If you have been injured in an accident, you will likely have already gone through a great deal of pain and suffering. Injuries themselves hurt, and they can severely impact your quality of life for months or years to come. Even recovering from an injury can be painful as you go through operations to repair the damage.
In addition to suing for economic damages (such as medical bills, property damage, or lost income), you can also receive damages for pain and suffering. The amount you receive is not always clear cut, and it usually relies on numerous factors that are hard to measure.
Two Types of Personal Injury Damages
Under Illinois law, there are two types of damages you can get if you’ve been injured: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are pretty straightforward, and they include:
- Medical treatment costs
- Damage to property, such as a car in the case of an automobile accident
- Lost income from inability to work
On the other hand, non-economic damages are more hazy. These are generally very subjective, and may include:
- Disability and disfigurement
- Loss of consortium (in the case of wrongful death)
- Pain and suffering
Of these, pain and suffering might be considered the most subjective since it can’t really be measured. To help pin down the amount you are owed for pain and suffering, your attorney will look at a number of concrete factors.
Concrete Factors and Multipliers
Your attorney will try to use some factors that are a little easier to measure in order to figure out how much you are owed for pain and suffering. Some of these factors include:
- The type and severity of your injuries
- Physical disfigurement
- Aggravation of preexisting injuries
- Your age and pain tolerance
- Impacts to your lifestyle
- Emotional suffering, such as depression or anxiety
From here, an amount can be determined. Many attorneys use a multiplier method, in which you take the economic damages you are owed and multiply those by a factor of 1 to 5. That amount is then added to what you are owed as pain and suffering compensation. For example, if you have $50,000 in economic damages and your attorney determines that your pain and suffering merits a factor of 2, you would get an additional $100,000 in damages on top of the initial amount.
Convincing the Jury
Of course, in order to actually get what you deserve, you need to be able to convince the jury. They will look into many of the same factors as your attorney, but there is a human aspect to it as well. You and your attorney need to be able to tell your story in a way that makes the jury sympathetic with your plight. Otherwise, they may decide that you deserve less than you’re asking for. Because of this, you need a highly experienced personal injury attorney.
Under Illinois law, it is considered unconstitutional to place a cap on personal injury damages, including those for pain and suffering. Nevertheless, if the jury finds you partially responsible for your injury, or if your lawsuit is against the state, the amount could be reduced.
In any case, if you have suffered as a result of an injury and are seeking personal injury damages, you need an experienced attorney to fight for you. Contact Hart & David today to review your case.