What factors have an impact on the damages awarded in a personal injury case?
If you've been injured because of someone else's negligence, the economic damages can add up quickly. You could face steep hospital bills and be out of work for several months, unable to collect a paycheck. On top of that, you're dealing with pain and suffering, emotional anguish, and trauma as a result of your injury. The insurance company that represents the negligent party is obligated to compensate you for your damages, but they often don't have your best interests in mind. It's critical that you speak to the experienced Chicago personal injury lawyers at Coplan + Crane to learn about your legal rights.
Our law firm has fought for millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for our clients. We know how the process works and what factors go into determining the amount of damages that are recoverable.
What factors go into determining my damages?
The nature of your injuries will dictate the damages of your case. For example, if you sustained whiplash or a concussion, you may need minimal treatment from your doctor and several weeks or months of rest. You likely need to take time off from work and can only engage in modified activities until you recover. On the other hand, if you sustained a catastrophic injury, you likely need an operation and several months of rehabilitation. In some cases, injuries are permanent and life-changing.
Whether you suffered from whiplash or a life-changing injury, you will need indisputable evidence to build a strong case. The evidence our attorneys will look for when gathering proof of your injuries includes documentation of the following:
- An official diagnosis from a doctor
- X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans
- Medications prescribed to manage pain and inflammation
- Physical therapy
- Any other current or future medical treatment
- Lost wages from work
Can I recover non-economic damages?
There are several factors that go into determining non-economic damages. Unlike hospital bills, lost wages and property damage, non-economic damages can't be determined by the amount of money you stand to lose due to your injury. Here are some examples of non-economic damages:
- You suffer from anxiety, grief, fear, mental trauma, or depression as a result of your injury.
- You're no longer able to engage in certain tasks or activities you once enjoyed.
- You suffer significant physical pain as a result of your injury.
- You sustained permanent scarring or disfigurement
What factors go into building a strong personal injury case?
In order to recover damages in a personal injury case, the following factors must be established or considered:
The fault of the defendant must be established to recover damages, which may be determined by the amount of fault each party contributed. If the defendant was 100 percent at-fault, you would be able to recover the full amount of damages requested. If you contributed some fault to your injuries, however, then the amount of damages you're awarded will be reduced.
Contributory and comparative negligence
Contributory and comparative negligence applies to the amount of fault contributed by each party. If you were partially at fault for an incident that led to injuries to both you and the defendant, the defendant can sue you for damages. Illinois has a "modified comparative negligence" system in place. That means you can only recover damages if you were less than 50 percent at fault for the accident that led to your injuries.
The credibility of the parties involved
All evidence used to support your case must be accurate, documented and indisputable. Statements and arguments that don't add up can hurt your ability to recover damages. If the defendant appears to be untruthful, the court will likely rule in your favor.
If you sustained a catastrophic injury, the impact can be lifelong. Your age will depend on how much you're able to recover in damages. For example, if you're a younger person, you're more likely to suffer a longer duration of lifelong pain than someone who's much older.
Statements from witnesses
Witness statements can have a profound impact on the outcome of your personal injury case. Witnesses can offer details regarding how you were injured and what sequence of events led to your injury.
It can take several months (and sometimes years) to resolve your personal injury case. It's well worth the wait to recover every dollar owed to you. The legal team at Coplan + Crane will work tirelessly to get the best possible outcome for your case. To get started, contact us online or call us for a free case evaluation.