Posted on Friday, December 8th, 2023 at 9:00 am
A settlement or award of damages in a Chicago personal injury case may sometimes include compensation for non-economic losses. These are losses that don’t have strict dollar values.
For example, your medical bills are an “economic loss.” That’s because medical bills have an exact dollar value.
Your pain and suffering doesn’t. However, you may still be eligible to receive compensation for your pain and suffering. Under Illinois law, pain and suffering is a non-economic loss that an injured person may seek compensation for.
What Is Pain and Suffering in a Chicago Personal Injury Case?
Pain and suffering is a general term. The following are a few examples of how pain and suffering can manifest in the context of a personal injury case:
- You sustain injuries in a motorcycle crash. Because motorcycles don’t offer the protection enclosed vehicles offer, your injuries are severe. They may cause substantial physical pain, for which you deserve compensation.
- You sustain a spinal cord injury in a truck collision. Your injury results in paralysis. Now, you can’t work and provide for your family. In addition, you can’t participate in activities you once found enjoyable. You may thus experience emotional and mental pain resulting from your injuries.
- A loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse. Perhaps their abuse was so severe they developed PTSD or other forms of mental trauma/anguish.
It’s not always clear what does and doesn’t qualify as pain and suffering for which you may receive compensation. You should discuss this topic with an attorney. Their understanding of the law can help ensure you seek compensation for all your relevant losses.
Pain and suffering compensation isn’t always available after an accident in Illinois. For example, workers’ compensation benefits don’t cover pain and suffering.
How Do They Calculate Compensation for This Loss?
Insurance companies and legal professionals may apply specialized formulas to calculate the value of such non-economic losses. Common ways to calculate pain and suffering damages include:
The Multiplier Method
The multiplier method involves assigning a value between 1.5 and 5 to your pain and suffering. The greater your pain and suffering, the greater the value.
You may not agree with the value an insurance adjuster assigns to your pain. You may present evidence showing your pain is substantial if an adjuster assigns an unreasonably low value to it. An example of such evidence might be testimony from a medical professional. They may speak to the severity of your pain and its impact on your life.
After assigning a value to your pain and suffering, someone using the multiplier method will add up all your economic losses. These may include past medical bills, estimated costs of future medical care, lost wages, etc.
They will then calculate pain and suffering damages by multiplying the sum of your economic losses by the multiplier they assigned to your pain and suffering. The product is the amount of compensation they’ll assign to your pain and suffering.
The Per Diem Method
Another common method of calculating pain and suffering compensation involves assigning your pain and suffering a daily dollar value. For example, an insurance adjuster or attorney determines your pain and suffering has a daily value of $50. They decide you experienced pain and suffering for 180 days. Thus, the total value of your pain and suffering would be $9,000.
Determining how long your pain and suffering lasts may involve accounting for such factors as the length of treatment. For instance, maybe you underwent pain treatment that lasted approximately six months. If so, this may be a reason to conclude your pain and suffering lasted 180 days.
Always be aware that an insurance company’s goal is often to settle your case for as little money as possible. When calculating pain and suffering compensation, an insurance adjuster may attempt to lowball you. This is one of many reasons why saving all documentation of your economic and non-economic losses is important.
Contact a Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer
Assigning a potential value to your non-economic losses is just one way an attorney can help with your personal injury case. Along with calculating the appropriate amount of pain and suffering compensation, a lawyer can:
- Investigate the cause of your accident
- Gather evidence to support your claim
- Identify the at-fault parties
- Assess the value of your total
- Handle all correspondence with the insurance company
- Represent you in settlement negotiations and in court if negotiations fail
Those are just a few examples. At Wallace Miller, our Chicago personal injury attorneys can offer dedicated representation while you focus on your recovery. Learn more about how we can help by contacting us online or calling us at (312) 261-6193 today for a free case review.