After an accident or incident wherein you or a loved one are injured, a civil insurance claim or civil lawsuit can be filed against the person or business that are at fault for that happening, which is known as the negligent party. If you are successful with your insurance claim or lawsuit, you can collect financial compensation, known as damages, to recover for medical costs, pain and suffering, loss of normal life, lost wages, emotional distress, etc. The damages available in a certain case will depend on the facts of a case and the nature and severity of the injury. There are several types of personal injury damages that could be available in your case.
After any type of incident resulting in an injury, it is critical that you visit a doctor or other medical provider to receive treatment. Medical expenses can quickly add up, particularly in cases that include catastrophic injuries or permanent disability. Damages for medical expenses should include not only the costs you have already incurred, but also any medical costs you will incur in the future. It is important to remember that if your health insurer paid any of the medical bills associated with the accident, you will have to repay them out of any settlement you receive but it may still be advantageous to have your insurance provider pay for these costs.
Damages for lost income are also very common in personal injury cases. Lost wages can include the wages or salary a person missed because they had to receive treatment or because they were unable to work. Even if a person used sick leave or vacation time as financial support when they could not work, they still deserve compensation for the loss as it surely was not a vacation. If you are permanently unable to work due to the injury, a vocational expert may need to be brought in to give their opinion about any future loss of income and earning capacity.
Pain and Suffering
Medical expenses and lost wages are known as economic damages because they have an easily quantifiable value. However, the law also recognizes that not all losses have a concrete value. These are known as non-economic damages, and you can still recover them under the law. Pain and suffering is one of the most common types of non-economic damages available in personal injury cases. These damages reflect the effects of the accident and injury you will feel, which may include:
● The physical pain the accident caused you;
● The physical discomfort that results from the medical treatment you need; and
● Psychological effects of the accident, including sleeplessness, mental anguish, and more.
Many states place a cap on non-economic damages, but Illinois does not. Although the state has enacted caps on these types of damages in the past, the Supreme Court has deemed them unconstitutional and struck down the law. Today, you can claim the full value of any pain and suffering you experienced after your accident.
As part of your pain and suffering, we are also able to see damages for Loss of Normal Life. This demonstrates in what ways the pain and suffering have impacted your life, especially with daily activities. Clients often have to stop doing certain activities because of the pain they experience or they have to modify the way they perform that activity. This is especially true if you have children, play sports or exercise. It does not matter how old you are either, you should not have to change your life to accommodate for pain that you did not cause.
Sometimes, what happened is so severe it may negatively impact your mental health. For example, if you were involved in a serious car accident or truck accident, you may be too nervous to get into a vehicle again, even as a passenger, or you suffer from nightmares. These are also losses and you deserve compensation for them. To claim these types of damages, you will likely need a diagnosis from a medical professional or receive treatment from a mental health care provider.
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is not just for those that have served in the military. Car wreck victims often have PTSD after a wreck. This is not your fault. You must let your medical provider know in order for this to be something for which you can receive damages.
In the most tragic of cases, an incident or accident may be so severe that the victim does not survive it. When this happens, the surviving spouse or children of the deceased can file a wrongful death claim and/or survival action to recover damages for their losses. These may include:
● The pain and suffering the deceased experienced before their death
● Medical expenses incurred by the deceased before their death
● Funeral and burial costs
● Loss of the expected income of the deceased
● Value of services the deceased provided to the family or household
● Loss of guidance, care, and nurturing the deceased would have provided if they had survived the accident
Some of these damages are recovered by family members, while others are distributed to the estate. Under the Illinois Survival Act, the losses the deceased incurred prior to their death will go to the estate, while family members can recover for the losses they directly experienced as a result of the death. Survival claims and wrongful death claims are often filed together.
Loss of Companionship or Consortium
Damages for loss of companionship or consortium are often included in a wrongful death claim, but a fatality does not always have to occur for these damages to be claimed. Damages for loss of companionship or consortium are available when a person is injured so badly in an accident that they can no longer have an intimate relationship with their spouse. If you are not married at the time of the incident or accident, you cannot recover for these damages though. In some situations, claims for loss of consortium are filed alone by the spouse that suffered the loss.
The damages listed above are intended to make you as whole again as possible after an accident. Although no one can ever undo your injuries or bring back a loved one, the financial compensation is intended to make up for those losses. As such, these damages are known as compensatory damages. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are not meant to compensate accident victims. Instead, they are intended to punish the careless person that caused your accident to try to deter that person or others from the same actions.
Punitive damages are fairly rare in personal injury cases. Still, if you can show the defendant acted with gross recklessness or carelessness, punitive damages may be available, and they can significantly increase the value of a claim. Punitive damages are also going to be more likely if a case goes to trial rather than settling outside of court.
Our Personal Injury Lawyers Will Help You Claim Full Damages
If you have been hurt as a result of someone else’s actions or failure to act, you can file an injury claim but you should not do it on your own. At the Law Offices of Glenn & West, LLC, our personal injury lawyers will accurately evaluate your claim and fight aggressively with the other side so you receive the full damages you are entitled to. Call us today at (217) 324-7777, (217) 563-7777, or fill out our online form to request a consultation with one of our skilled attorneys, so we can get started on your case.