Types of Damages Available in Personal Injury Cases

If another party causes your injuries, they can be held financially responsible for the harm they cause. The court cannot change the events that led to your injuries nor relieve your pain and suffering. However, it can order the at-fault party to pay damages.

Damages in a personal injury case include economic and non-economic damages. The types of damages you recover depend on the circumstances and factors in your case. However, several types of damages are common in most personal injury cases.

Examples of damages in a Chicago personal injury case include:

The Cost of Medical Care and Treatment

Examples of medical bills and expenses included in a personal injury case include:

  • Emergency medical services
  • Hospitalizations and surgeries
  • Doctor’s bills
  • Diagnostic tests
  • Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other rehabilitative care
  • Medical supplies and medications
  • Medical and/or mobility devices
  • In-home personal and/or nursing care

Prompt medical care is important after an accident. It reduces the risk of complications and life-threatening conditions. Timely medical care also helps establish a link between the accident and your injuries, which is a crucial element of a personal injury case.

Loss of Income

Losing income is a common damage in personal injury cases. You could be out of work for months while you are healing from your injuries. 

Examples of income included in your claim are:

  • Hourly wages
  • Tips
  • Commissions
  • Salaries
  • Bonuses
  • Freelance and gig work
  • Part-time income
  • Overtime pay
  • Independent contract work

Considering the benefits you lost because of your injuries is essential. You may be entitled to reimbursement for paid time off, sick time, and vacation time. You may also include perks such as paid vehicles and cell phones. Contributions to retirement accounts, including employer matching funds, may also be included in loss of income.

Reduced Earning Capacity

If you sustained a permanent impairment or disability, you may be unable to return to work or earn as much as you would have earned had you not been injured. Therefore, you could be entitled to compensation for future lost wages and reduced earning capacity. Financial professionals and vocational experts can help determine how much you would have earned had you been able to return to work at full capacity.

Personal Care and Replacement Services

Injuries can prevent you from caring for your personal needs without assistance, such as bathing, dressing, and grooming. You may also be unable to perform household chores. Damages can include an amount for personal care and household services.

Out-of-Pocket Expenses

This category of economic damages is a catchall category for expenses that do not fall into other categories. Out-of-pocket expenses could include over-the-counter medications and medical supplies. It also includes travel expenses to and from medical appointments.

Emotional Distress and Physical Pain

You can receive damages for the pain and suffering caused by the accident and injuries. Pain and suffering damages are also known as non-economic damages.

Examples of pain and suffering damages include:

  • Emotional distress
  • PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • Chronic anxiety
  • Depression
  • Permanent impairments and disabilities
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Mental illness and chronic psychological disorders

If you experience symptoms of depression or other psychological conditions, seeking treatment for your emotional health is just as important as seeking medical treatment for physical injuries. Having medical records documenting your diagnosis helps prove that the accident caused emotional harm in addition to physical harm.

Diminished Quality of Life

Injuries can result in a reduction in your quality of life and enjoyment of life. The loss may be temporary as you heal from your injuries.

However, if you develop a long-term impairment, your quality of life could permanently change. Your injuries may severely restrict your lifestyle, and you might not be able to return to your previous activities.

Loss of Consortium

Family members may have a claim for loss of consortium. Your family’s losses are the result of your injuries. The loss may be sentimental, such as the loss of love, affection, and sexual relations. It can also include functional losses, such as the loss of support, guidance, and care.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are a special category of damages that is available in some personal injury cases. A jury must find that the at-fault party’s conduct rose to a specific level to award punitive damages. The damages “punish” the defendant for their conduct.

Does Comparative Fault Apply to Claims for Damages in an Illinois Personal Injury Claim?

Illinois has a modified comparative fault law instead of a strict contributory fault standard that bars all recovery if the victim is partially to blame for causing their injuries. Under Illinois law, you lose the right to recover compensation for damages if you are 51% or more at fault for causing your injuries.

You can receive some of your damages if you are less than 51% responsible for causing your injuries. The amount you receive is based on your percentage of fault. For example, if you are 20% to blame for the cause of a car accident, you could only receive 80% of your damages.

Comparative fault is a common argument insurance companies use to undervalue pain and suffering damages. Be cautious what you say to an insurance adjuster. Allowing an attorney to handle the insurance company can help you avoid saying something that could imply fault when you did not cause the accident.

Steps to Take to Build a Strong Case for Damages in Chicago, IL

After a personal injury or accident, the steps you take can help you maximize your non-economic and economic damages. 

Tips for maximizing damages in a personal injury case include:

  • Do not apologize: Never admit fault at the accident scene or after the injury without speaking to an attorney. Apologizing for the accident or saying you are “sorry” may be viewed as an admission of fault for causing the accident.
  • Get medical attention: See a doctor or medical provider as soon as possible to obtain treatment for your injuries, including mental health treatment for emotional distress.
  • Document an accident scene. If your injuries allow you to do so, take photographs and make videos of the scene.
  • Talk to witnesses. Ask bystanders for their names and contact information so your attorney can obtain their statements.
  • Document your pain and suffering. Keep a journal. Take photographs of your injuries and make notes about your recovery in your journal.
  • Keep detailed records. Document your expenses and financial losses with proof of the losses, such as bills, invoices, and receipts.

Seeking timely legal advice can also improve your chance of receiving a fair outcome in your personal injury case. An experienced Chicago personal injury attorney handles all aspects of your case as they guide you through the claims process to recover compensation for your damages.

Get Help With Damages in a Personal Injury Case in Chicago, IL

You deserve to be compensated for all damages caused by another party’s negligence, wrongful acts, or intentional torts. At Zayed Law Offices Personal Injury Attorneys, we help injured victims fight for fair settlements and verdicts for their personal injury cases. Call us at (312) 726-1616 for a free consultation with one of our Chicago personal injury lawyers now.