Your uncovered losses may include:
- Medical costs for treatment of the injury when it occurred.
- Costs to buy special equipment or even to modify your home to accommodate a disability.
- Costs for rehabilitation services which could be needed for months or even years.
- The cost of round-the-clock, long-term care provided in your home or at an assisted living facility.
- Costs for mental health treatment.
- Loss of income the person would have earned had they not been injured.
- Costs for your family to travel and visit the injured person.
- Non-economic costs, which are often lumped under the broad umbrella of “pain and suffering.”
Measuring the Non-Economic Costs of an Injury
An attorney can tally up the financial costs listed above, make future projections, and come up with an appropriate figure as compensation for those losses. However, the calculation of the value of non-economic losses is much more difficult. Some of the specific factors that need to be weighed include:
- Is the person permanently disfigured or physically impaired, such as by an amputation or paralysis?
- Will they have to suffer through numerous surgeries over the years to try to restore their appearance and/or function?
- Is the injury such that it results in long-term pain to the victim? This is often the case in spinal cord injuries or when a part of the body, such as a leg, suffers multiple fractures or fragmentation.
- Has the person suffered severe emotional distress, perhaps from seeing friends or family killed in the same incident?
- Has the victim suffered from severe insomnia, nightmares, anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder?
- Are there beloved hobbies or activities that the person can no longer participate in as a result of the injury?
- Have family members of the victim suffered
An attorney who has handled many personal injury cases will likely have developed their own formula, or chosen useful formulas developed by others, to translate these non-economic costs into a dollar figure to cite in the lawsuit. One common method is to apply a multiplier to the total financial damages. For example, if the victim and family’s financial losses totaled $500,000, you might triple that figure and claim an additional $1.5 million for non-economic losses. The multiplier, of course, would depend on the severity of the injury suffered and the extent of the non-economic losses.
Is There a Legal Cap on “Pain and Suffering” Damages in Illinois?
The Illinois legislature passed a law in 2005 to limit awards for non-economic losses in medical malpractice cases to $500,000 for physicians and $1,000,000 for hospitals. However, in 2010, the Illinois Supreme Court subsequently ruled that law unconstitutional. Thus, Illinois currently places no limit on the amount of compensation that can be awarded for non-economic losses.
Consult a Rolling Meadows Personal Injury Attorney
If you are wondering whether you should file a personal injury lawsuit, consult an experienced Palatine personal injury lawyer. The attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC will determine the best legal strategy for your case and fight aggressively to see that you are compensated for your losses. Contact us at 847-934-6000 to schedule a no-cost, no obligation consultation.
About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.