How Pain and Suffering Damages Are Calculated in Illinois

Have you sustained injuries in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing in Illinois? You could file a claim with the negligent party’s insurance company if so. Filing a claim allows you to seek compensation for your accident-related injuries and losses.

Many of your losses may be economic in nature. For example, your injuries might require costly medical treatment. They may also result in lost wages if you can’t work while you recover. Paying unexpected medical bills is already a challenge—being unable to work only exacerbates the situation.

Medical expenses and lost wages have precise dollar values, so they are included in the category of “economic losses.” However, you might also struggle with non-economic losses due to your injuries. Examples of these intangible losses include emotional distress and pain and suffering.

What Is Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury Case?

Under Illinois law, plaintiffs in personal injury cases may be entitled to compensation for some non-economic losses. Pain and suffering is one example of a non-economic loss for which an injured party could obtain compensation.

“Pain” in this context generally refers to the physical pain an injured party may struggle with. They may also still experience this pain at the time they receive a settlement or court award of damages. Thus, their compensation may account for future physical pain or discomfort.

Suffering may consist of the mental and/or emotional distress an injured party experiences. Examples may include:

That’s not a complete list. Everyone’s pain and suffering after an accident will be unique. Thus, you may account for factors that are specific to your situation when seeking pain and suffering compensation.

Calculating Pain and Suffering in Personal Injury Cases

Pain and suffering are intangible losses. Your medical bills have a clear dollar amount that you can reference when seeking compensation. Pain and suffering do not.

Legal professionals and courts may thus use a variety of methods when calculating the potential dollar value of pain and suffering. Two common methods to reach the value of pain and suffering are the multiplier method and the per diem method.

Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages with the Multiplier Method

The multiplier method offers a relatively simple way to assign a dollar value to intangible losses. The multiplier method involves assigning a “multiplier” between 1.5 and five to an injured party’s pain and suffering. The greater the severity of a person’s pain and suffering, the greater the multiplier.

Factors to account for when choosing a multiplier include:

  • Whether injuries result in long-term disability
  • How severe an injured party’s physical pain is
  • The impact the injuries and related pain and suffering have on the person’s quality of life

After assigning a multiplier to pain and suffering and other non-economic losses, someone using the multiplier method would total all the injured party’s economic losses. They would then multiply the total of the economic losses by the chosen multiplier. The result would be the amount of money they may receive for their pain and suffering and other intangible losses.

Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages Using the Per Diem Method

The per diem method is an alternative to the multiplier method. The primary factor influencing pain and suffering calculations with this method is the length of an injured party’s recovery.

This method requires assigning a daily dollar value to an injured person’s pain and suffering. Calculating compensation for pain and suffering using the per diem method involves determining how long someone endures pain and suffering during their recovery or until they reach maximum medical improvement – the point at which further medical intervention won’t improve their condition. The per diem method involves multiplying the daily dollar value of a person’s pain and suffering by the number of days of their recovery.

Gathering Evidence of Pain and Suffering

Documenting your losses is critical when seeking compensation for injuries. It can be tricky to document pain and suffering and other intangible losses.

Forms of evidence and documentation you may use to show you deserve compensation for pain and suffering include:

  • Medical records
  • Testimony from medical professionals
  • Your pain journal
  • Videos and photographs of injuries
  • Testimony from loved ones and others familiar with the nature of your condition and how it affects your life
  • Therapy notes

Insurance companies seek reasons to justify offering low settlements. Anything you say that suggests your pain and suffering aren’t that severe could harm your case if it gets back to an insurance adjuster. Even a social media post showing you enjoying physical activity could give an insurer reason to argue your pain isn’t severe and that you deserve less compensation. Along with gathering evidence of pain and suffering in the aftermath of an accident, refrain from making any statements or social media posts that could downplay your pain.

Are Pain and Suffering Damages Always Available?

How Pain and Suffering Damages Are Calculated in Illinois

An injured party doesn’t always have the right to receive compensation for pain and suffering. For instance, if you’re an employee and sustained work-related injuries, you can file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.

You don’t have to provide evidence that your injuries resulted from negligence when seeking workers’ compensation benefits. As long as your injuries arose out of your work for your employer while you were working, you could be eligible for workers’ comp.

According to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, workers’ comp covers relevant economic losses, like medical bills. It doesn’t cover non-economic losses like pain and suffering.

That’s just one example of an injury case in which pain and suffering compensation might be unavailable. If you’re not sure whether you’re eligible for this type of compensation, review your case with an attorney. A legal professional can provide information about compensation that insurance companies won’t freely offer.

Contact an Illinois Personal Injury Attorney

Calculating pain and suffering damages is a complex task. Luckily, it’s not one you need to handle yourself.

Our Illinois personal injury attorneys at JJ Legal can handle this task for you. If you hire us, we’ll pursue the full amount of compensation you’re entitled to. Get started today by contacting us online or calling us at 312-200-2000 for a free case review.

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