Injured in Illinois: FAQ

How can I determine how much my personal injury claim is worth in Illinois?

Attorneys are prohibited from promising that they will obtain a judgment in your favor, or a specific amount of award. For purposes of settlement, a claim is valued upon an estimate of what a jury would likely believe the case to be worth, taking into account the severity of the injury, the effects of the injury on your life and the negligence of the other party. Illinois follows the modified comparative negligence system of recovery, which considers the degree of fault as a percentage. If you were partially at fault for the accident, the amount of damages you may recover will be reduced proportionately. However, in Illinois, if you are found to be more than 51% responsible for your accident, you will not be able to receive a judgment in your favor.  A settlement may also be reduced if it appears likely that the claim will not be successful. Other factors that may reduce the damages include past medical history, pre­-existing injuries, and prior claims history.

Considerable compensation may be commanded if your injuries are severe requiring extensive medical treatment, absences from work and permanent injuries. This is especially true if you were a healthy, productive, young worker prior to the accident. Quality of life is an important factor when calculating the value of your claim. The difference between your quality of life before the accident as compared to after the accident weighs the degree of compensation the jury feels is justifiable.

What damages can I recover for a personal injury claim in Illinois?

You are entitled to recover for any actual damages that were proximately caused by the wrongful conduct of the defendant. Actual damages refer to the amount of money it would take to fully compensate you and place you in the same position you would have been in had the injury never taken place. You can recover for losses such as costs of reasonable and necessary medical care, property damage, car rental expenses, costs of domestic services, and loss of earnings. The law allows compensation for future medical and care expenses that the claimant can prove will be reasonably necessary to treat the injury. The claim may include income the claimant can prove will probably be lost in the future because of the injuries. Loss of earning capacity is also allowed when the patient proves he or she is less able to earn a living as a result of the injuries

You are also entitled to non­economic damages for physical pain and suffering, mental and emotional suffering, physical impairment, inconvenience, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium (disruption of your personal relationship with your spouse), etc. There is no definite standard of calculating reasonable compensation for these types of damages other than being just and reasonable in light of the evidence. Punitive damages are intended to punish a defendant for reckless or malicious conduct and deter others from similar conduct. Considering someone’s ill intent is difficult to prove, they are only awarded in rare cases.

In certain instances, damages may be awarded to families of injured claimants for loss of care, companionship, love and affection. Family members can be compensated for the wrongful death of a loved one. These damages may include medical and burial expenses, loss of income that would have supported the family members, and contributions the deceased would have made in the way of comfort, assistance, advice, protection, companionship, etc.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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