Compensation for Personal Injury: Types of Damages and How They're Calculated

If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you can seek compensation for your damages. For car accidents, slip-and-falls, dog bites, and other personal injury cases, it takes careful analysis to determine the proper amount of compensation for a victim.

The purpose of providing damages in personal injury cases is to cover the costs and impact your injury has had on your life, both now and in the future. Money may not change the past, but it certainly can help pay for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages suffered by the victim. For help with your personal injury case, contact the Law Office of Jack M. Shapiro - Buffalo Grove Personal Injury Lawyer.

Understanding the types of damages in personal injury cases can help you consider what you may be entitled to when filing your claim.

Types of Damages That Apply in a Personal Injury Case

Take a closer look at the types of damages in personal injury cases.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of the accident. They are tangible in the sense that you can pinpoint a precise dollar amount.

Economic damages include medical expenses, property damage, or lost wages. These damages also include having to take a lower-paying job when an accident renders a victim incapable of performing the same job they once held.

Non-Economic Damages

While you may be able to show your medical records and receipts for every expense you were saddled with because of this accident, non-economic damages are different. They include losses for pain and suffering, mental anguish, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life. Your best chance to recover these non-economic damages is by working with an attorney who can fight for a proper settlement.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are used to punish the defendant and discourage the type of reckless behavior they exhibited that led to the accident and your injuries. Only a judge or jury can award them.

How Are Damages Tallied in a Personal Injury Case?

When it comes to economic damages, it is easy to tally up the expenses you’ve accumulated since these damages are quantifiable. However, it gets more complex when you lose earning capacity. You may need an expert to calculate the extent of your loss.

Then there are those non-economic damages, which don’t have any direct bills or receipts. Attorneys often rely on the multiplier method of adding up the economic damage and multiplying it by a set number, generally ranging from two to five. They may also use the per diem method, which involves assigning a specific dollar value for every day the victim is expected to endure pain and suffering from this injury.

How the Insurance Company Could Impact Your Compensation

In Illinois, the law applies comparative fault, which could result in less compensation for your injuries. Since the state uses modified comparative negligence, as the victim, you may only recover damages if you are less than 50% at fault for the accident.

For any personal injury, especially motor vehicle accidents, insurance companies will fight to show you were at fault. Turning the tables on the victims, those seeking to gain compensation on their own are often shocked that they are offered a settlement that is far less than their expenses from the accident. Sometimes, compensation is denied altogether.

What You Can Do to Ensure You’re Properly Compensated

You may have been driving to work, obeying traffic laws as you normally do when another vehicle careens into yours. You may have been shopping at a store when you were injured by slipping on the floors where no signs were placed to warn you of this danger. You may have lost a loved one from an accident or medical malpractice.

For all these situations, sit down with a personal injury attorney. Most offer free initial consultations where you can gain valuable legal advice about your situation.

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