What Damages Are Available in a Personal Injury Case? [infographic]
Personal injury victims may be able to receive economic, non-economic, and punitive damages in a personal injury case. Damages are the term for the compensation that a person is entitled to from the entity that is legally responsible for his or her injuries.
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Economic damages are quantifiable monetary amounts that compensate people for the expenses or losses incurred from an injury. In Chicago and other areas in Illinois, there are no statutory caps on the economic damages that victims can claim. Examples of such damages include:
- Medical bills
- Future medical care costs
- Loss of income
- Loss of future earnings
- Household expenses
- Costs associated with altered or canceled plans
Calculating economic damages involves adding up the damages together. For someone who incurred $200,000 for medical expenses, $30,000 for rehabilitation, and lost $30,000 worth of income, the economic damages would be $260,000.
Sometimes, the calculations involved can be complicated. When calculating a young person’s diminished earning capacity, factors like age, work history, and promotion history may be considered to determine what the person would have earned if the injury had not occurred.
Personal injury victims suffer to an extent beyond what is compensated for by economic damages. Non-economic damages compensate injured individuals for the non-monetary damages incurred. The damages include losses like pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium.
There are different ways of calculating non-economic damages. Some juries or insurance companies use a multiplier method, where they multiply the medical expenses by a particular rate, such as a number between 1.5 and 5. A per diem method gives the victim a daily amount for each day he or she was suffering until the point of full recovery.
Punitive damages are awarded to punish a negligent party for reckless or dangerous conduct and discourage similar conduct in the future. Such conduct includes malicious or wanton acts like sexual assault, aggravated battery, and fraudulent behavior that results in widespread harm.
It is crucial for personal injury victims to know all the damages available to them. Asking for just medical care costs or the expenses incurred due to property damage makes victims miss other essential types of damages. For that reason, they should work with a personal injury attorney who will ensure they recover all the damages applicable to their case.