How Are Pain and Suffering Damages Calculated?

Illinois is an at-fault or tort state. If a person causes another person injury or harm through negligence or wrongful acts, the at-fault person can be held liable for damages. 

Awarding damages is the remedy courts use to compensate the victim for their losses and harm. However, the victim must prove the at-fault party caused their injuries to recover compensation for damages. 

Damages for a personal injury case include the financial losses a person sustains or their “economic damages,” such as their lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, and medical bills. Victims can also recover compensation for their non-economic damages or “pain and suffering” damages.

Pain and suffering damages represent the emotional trauma and physical discomfort a person experiences because of an accident or personal injury. At Zayed Law Offices Personal Injury Attorneys, our legal team documents all the damages you sustained because of a negligent party. We diligently work to obtain a settlement amount or jury verdict for the total of all damages. 

Examples of Pain and Suffering Damages 

A person may experience different types of pain and suffering after an injury or accident. Common pain and suffering damages included in Chicago personal injury cases include:

Physical Pain 

Physical injuries cause discomfort and pain. A general rule is the more severe the injury, the more intense the pain. 

However, all injuries can cause someone to suffer. The extent of suffering depends on a number of factors, including the type of injury, the medical treatment required, and the person. 

Emotional Distress 

Accidents and injuries also cause mental suffering. Emotional distress manifests as symptoms. Emotional distress can take many forms, including:

  • Fear and anxiety
  • Depression
  • Worry
  • Embarrassment 
  • Nightmares 
  • No or low energy
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Feeling hopeless or helpless
  • Isolation 
  • Sleeping too little or too much

Children and adults can suffer from emotional distress. The emotional distress could manifest in one or more psychological disorders, including PTSD and various phobias.

Emotional distress can be debilitating. Chronic cases could result in conditions that prevent the person from working or performing daily activities. 

Disfigurement and Impairments 

Some injured parties sustain scarring and disfigurement. Accident injuries can also result in permanent impairments and disabling conditions. 

As a result, the person might face ongoing costs for personal care, medical treatment, and skilled nursing care. If an impairment prevents the person from working, the healthcare costs and loss of income could total millions of dollars over a person’s lifetime. 

Likewise, a person must experience severe anxiety and embarrassment because of their impairment or disfigurement. The result is an increase in the level of emotional distress and mental anguish they experience. 

Decrease in Quality of Life

A loss of enjoyment of life or quality of life can be temporary or permanent. 

For example, a person with a broken leg might be unable to participate in ordinary activities. It could take months to heal from surgery and complete physical therapy. During that time, the person might lose some of the enjoyment they derive from life.

A person who sustains a permanent impairment could experience a substantial decrease in quality of life. For example, a person who experiences an amputation, spinal cord injury, or traumatic brain injury might never be able to regain the quality of life they enjoyed before they were hurt. 

What Types of Personal Injury Accidents Can Cause Pain and Suffering Damages?

We often think of specific types of accidents when we discuss pain and suffering damages. However, any accident or injury can cause pain and suffering damages. Common examples of personal injury cases for pain and suffering damages include, but are not limited to:

  • Car accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Truck accidents
  • Premises liability claims
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Construction accidents
  • Product liability claims
  • Bicycle and pedestrian accidents
  • Nursing home abuse and neglect 
  • Birth injuries 

Each case is unique. However, if a person sustains an injury, they are likely entitled to non-economic damages.

The insurance company for the at-fault party downplays pain and suffering damages. Since the damages are subjective, they can be challenging to prove. However, hiring an experienced Chicago personal injury attorney who understands damages in an injury case gives you a better chance of recovering the money you deserve. 

What Factors Impact the Value of a Chicago Personal Injury Claim for Pain and Suffering?

The value of your pain and suffering damages depends on numerous factors. Common factors that impact the value of non-economic damages include:

  • The type of injuries you sustained
  • The duration of your recovery
  • The type of medical treatments you received
  • Whether you have a permanent impairment
  • The parties involved in the case
  • The amount of insurance coverage available
  • Whether you could be partially to blame for causing your injuries 
  • The strength of your evidence proving fault and liability
  • The willingness of the parties to negotiate a fair settlement amount

Some factors increase how much you could receive for pain and suffering damages. For example, catastrophic injuries, significant disfigurement, and permanent impairments increase the value of damages.

On the other hand, contributory fault decreases the value of your claim. Illinois has a modified contributory fault law. If you are more than 50% to blame for the cause of your injury, you cannot receive any money for your claim. 

However, if you are less than 50% at fault, you could receive damages based on your level of fault. For instance, if you are 10% to blame for causing a car wreck, any damages award would be reduced by ten percent. 

How Do You Calculate the Value of Pain and Suffering for a Chicago Personal Injury or Accident?

Illinois does not have a standard formula for calculating pain and suffering damages. One commonly accepted way is the multiplier method.

The multiplier method uses factors like those above to assign a number between 1.5 and five to damages. The more severe the damages, the higher the multiplier. For example, a case involving a person who sustains a spinal cord injury that results in total paralysis might be assigned a five for a multiplier.

The value of the person’s economic damages times the multiplier equals the value of pain and suffering damages. Therefore, as the value of the multiplier and economic damages increases, the higher the value of non-economic damages. 

It is important to remember that pain and suffering is subjective. Every person reacts difficult to an injury. Therefore, what would be a minor injury for one person could be a traumatic injury to another person.

The insurance company will diminish your pain and suffering. The insurance adjuster might tell you that your injury does not justify a large settlement for pain and suffering.

Before you accept a settlement offer from an insurance company, talk with our lawyer. Your case could be worth much more than the insurance company offers for settlement. If you sign the settlement agreement, you likely give up your right to file a lawsuit seeking fair compensation for damages. 

Contact Us for a Free Consultation With Our Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers

At Zayed Law Offices Personal Injury Attorneys, our legal team fights to obtain the maximum value for your personal injury claim. Contact our law firm today to request a free consultation from an experienced Chicago personal injury attorney. You don’t have to fight the insurance company alone, call us at (312) 726-1616.