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This is How Pain and Suffering Damages are Calculated in Chicago Accident Claims

— July 28, 2022

Non-economic damages are difficult to calculate as they refer to intangible losses, namely your pain and suffering.

Chicago, IL – When you’re injured in a car accident in Chicago and file a personal injury claim, you’ll first need to figure out how much your claim is worth. You cannot simply go to the insurance company representing the other driver and expect them to offer you fair compensation because that’s not how the system works. When dealing with an insurance company, the odds are never in your favor. They have their best interests in mind, not yours.

The point is before making a claim it is highly recommended that you schedule a free consultation with an experienced Chicago accident lawyer and ask their opinion on how much your claim is worth.

In a personal injury claim, you are entitled to compensatory damages, which are of two types.

First, you have economic damages to compensate you for your medical expenses and lost wages. Not much trouble there, although you must be careful to include future expenses, like additional treatments you may need in the years to come.

Non-economic damages are difficult to calculate as they refer to intangible losses, namely your pain and suffering.

How are pain and suffering damages calculated in Illinois?

No matter if you settle with the insurance company or you go to trial, in Illinois, there are two basic methods used to calculate the value of your pain and suffering.

The multiplier method

This method is generally used for injuries that have a long-lasting effect and leave you with a disability or disfigurement. 

What happens is that your economic damages are multiplied by a factor between 1 and 5, depending on the severity of your injuries. This is when you’ll need a seasoned accident lawyer by your side.

Woman in pain; image by Matteo Vistocco, via
Woman in pain; image by Matteo Vistocco, via

Your lawyer will have to gather convincing evidence to prove that your suffering was serious enough to warrant the use of a factor of 4 or 5. They’ll use testimony from friends and family concerning your daily struggles. If you kept a pain diary, this can also be presented as evidence.

To maximize the value of your claim, your attorneys may also bring medical experts to talk about the severity of your injuries, the kind of pain they cause, and how they limit your ability to lead a normal life. A mental health expert may also testify about your problems with anxiety, depression, panic attacks, PTSD, etc.

The per diem method

The per diem method is mostly used in claims involving injuries with a limited effect. For instance, if you break a leg in an accident, the fracture will probably heal in 4-6 weeks. That’s a maximum of 42 days during which you’ve had to put up with pain and limited mobility. 

Your attorneys will reach out to an economist to assign a value to your daily suffering. In most cases, that value will be close to your daily wages. That value will be multiplied by the number of days it took you to recover from your injuries. 

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