The effects of an accident can extend far beyond your medical bills and lost wages. While in recovery, you may not be able to care for your family, and basic daily activities can become extremely difficult or even impossible. You may have difficulty sleeping or be generally debilitated. In short, your pain and suffering may leave you unable to live your day-to-day life.
At Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. we know that your injury can change your life forever. We believe that you are entitled to be made whole, which includes the pain and suffering you have endured in addition to your lost wages and medical bills. As a result, we provide our clients with aggressive legal representation to get the compensation they deserve. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you with your Illinois personal injury case, call us at (312) 236-2900 or our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
While the phrase “pain and suffering” may be obvious on its face, it’s important to understand that it has a specific use in the context of a personal injury claim. “Pain and suffering” refers to any physical and/or emotional distress caused by a physical injury. Pain is the physical discomfort you experience as a result of your injury. Suffering is the emotional or psychological harm that you suffer. Suffering can include diagnosable conditions such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD, but also general sadness, frustration, or anger.
Furthermore, pain and suffering are often referred to as “non-economic” damages (and sometimes as “general damages”). Economic damages are those losses that have a specific, identifiable dollar amount, such as medical bills or lost wages.
Pain and suffering are considered non-economic damages because they do not have a specific economic value. While your pain and suffering are very real, they are also subjective in nature – it’s difficult for anyone but you to know the total extent of what you are going through.
It is a popular misconception that pain and suffering is simply a random dollar amount set forth in an attempt to get rich. While there is no set formula in Illinois personal injury cases for determining the compensation you are entitled to, there are different methods that your attorney, the jury, or the insurance company may use to assign a value to your claim for pain and suffering.
Generally speaking, the following factors will be used in determining your claim for pain and suffering:
As a general rule, the more severe your injury, the greater the potential value of your claim for pain and suffering. The pain and suffering associated with a spinal cord injury that resulted in permanent paralysis would be greater than the pain and suffering caused by a broken leg.
Because it can be difficult to assign a specific value to pain and suffering, a multiplier is then used to estimate the value of your claim. Depending on the severity of your injury, it will be assigned a factor between one and five, with one being for the least severe injuries and five being the most severe. The factor is then applied to the total value of your economic losses.
For example, let’s say that you were in a car accident and suffered a compound fracture in your leg. It cost you $25,000 for treatment and physical therapy and you lost $1,000 in income as a result. Because you now will walk with a permanent limp, let’s assign a factor of 4 to your injuries. We would then calculate your claim for pain and suffering as follows:
$25,000 in medical losses + $1,000 in lost wages = $26,000 in economic losses
$26,000 x 4 = $104,000 in pain and suffering
This is just an example – the calculation is unique to each specific case.
In some cases, it may be appropriate to determine the value of your pain and suffering on a daily basis. In those cases, your attorney will assign a per diem estimate of your pain and suffering and then multiply it by the number of days you were suffering from your injuries.
All of this may sound very simple, but the reality is unfortunately much more complicated. Your insurance company will likely dispute the value of your claim, and if you have to go to court, you will need to persuade a jury that you are entitled to the full value of your losses. This is extremely difficult for non-lawyers to accomplish, but the good news is that you don’t have to pursue your claim alone. The personal injury attorneys at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. will fight to make sure you get the compensation you are entitled to so that you can rebuild your life. Call us today at (312) 236-2900 or our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.