How Courts Determine Damages

Web Admin - Friday, February 27, 2015

personal injury damages, Schaumburg personal injury lawyerThe ultimate goal of personal injury law is to make injured victims whole again. In theory, the law would like to allow people who suffer injuries to collect full compensation for all of the physical, economic, and emotional harms that an accident imposes on them. Of course, there are practical difficulties with doing this, such as accurately measuring emotional harms. Still, the fact that full compensation is the goal of the law is helpful for people's understanding of what damages are available to them in personal injury lawsuits.

What Damages Are Available

The law makes a wide variety of damages available to injured parties. Some of the most straightforward ones to understand are special compensatory damages. These are damages related to specific, easily calculated harms that a person suffered as a result of an accident. For instance, in a case arising out of a car accident, a person could receive special compensatory damages from the person who caused the accident to cover their medical bills and the repair bills for their car. The damages can also work based on prospective harms. For instance, if a victim can prove that their injuries prevented them from returning to work or lowered their ability to earn money, then they can also recover for those sorts of losses.

Courts can also award victims general compensatory damages. Rather than being tied to specific, calculable harms, general compensatory damages are supposed to compensate victims for the emotional harms that they suffer. Theoretically, these damages should be related to a person's pain and suffering, but as a practical matter they tend to be related to the special compensatory damages that a jury awards.

Additionally, courts have the option of awarding punitive damages. These damages are a special class of damages that are only given out rarely. Rather than the other types of damages, which focus on ensuring that victims are paid back for the harm they suffered, punitive damages exist to punish the defendant. The idea is that courts may impose these extra damages to punish defendants for particularly heinous conduct.

Comparative Negligence

Once the court calculates the full amount of the damages, there is another step. The court must determine whether the injured victim was at all responsible for the harms that they suffered. Illinois law reduces the amount of money a victim can recover by the amount of responsibility that they bear for the accident. For instance, if a pedestrian is crossing against a light and gets struck by a drunk driver, the court may find them responsible for some amount of their own injuries. Suppose the court decides that the pedestrian was responsible for 10 percent of their harm; here they can only recover 90 percent of their total damages.

Traffic accidents can lead to life changing injuries. Fortunately, the law gives people options for how to handle these situations. If you were injured in a traffic accident and want to learn more about your rights, contact an Illinois personal injury attorney today. Our firm represents victims in many northwest suburban towns, including Schaumburg, Inverness, and Barrington.

Ken ApicellaAbout 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.

Recent Posts


Schaumburg construction accident lawyer Illinois defective products attorney BUI Chicago corporate attorney real estate attorney Deer Park traffic lawyer Illinois construction accident attorney Rolling Meadows marijuana attorney Chicago trucking accident attorney Arlington Heights estate planning attorney Des Plaines injury law firm personal injury lawyer Schaumburg medical malpractice lawyer irrevocable trust Schaumburg employment law attorneys texting and driving digital assets, digital fiduciary, estate planning, digital content, Long Grove estate planning lawyers Illinois collections attorney Barrington civil litigation attorney Class A misdemeanor Illinois employment law firm Arlington Heights employment attorney suspended license Illinois employment attorneys Illinois employment law attorneys gift tax exemption, estate planning, estate planning strategies, Illinois estate planning, South Barrington estate planning attorneys distracted driving accidents Barrington employment law firm car accidents GM ignition switches Long Grove estate planning attorneys Affordable Care Act license revocation Rolling Meadows estate planning attorney institutional trustee Illinois job attorney estate planning lawyer Whistleblower Claims Barrington business law firm Des Plaines civil attorney DMV rest breaks Illinois trucking accidents Rolling Meadows traffic attorney product liability digital information trauma after an accident Chicago employment attorney clemency Exclusions dealing with problem employees slip and fall Arlington Heights criminal lawyer eluding a police officer Palatine real estate lawyer traffic crimes Arlington Heights pedestrian accidents Palatine estate planning lawyer creditors Illinois Trust Code forming a corporation in Illinois Riverwoods estate planning lawyer special needs trust Palatine injury attorney pedestrian injuries, pedestrian fatality DNR Legal Info Illinois elder law attorney Schaumburg probate attorney School Visitation Rights Act probate Inverness probate lawyer Schaumburg Attorney Barrington estate planning attorney denied insurance claim Rolling Meadows Attorney Illinois personal injury low-ball insurance settlement Jay Andrew Arlington Heights injury attorney Crystal Lake injury attorney employment law, Illinois employment laws controlled substance Rolling Meadows insurance lawyer probate claims process probate process Deer Park motorcycle accident lawyer business litigation Palatine civil attorney agent Des Plaines personal injury attorney real estate Chicago insurance claim attorneys Deer Park DUI lawyer motorcycle accident lawyer liability claims unpaid assessment dram shop law Schaumburg estate planning attorney Illinois speeding lawyer Retaliatory Discharge pay when paid contract workers compensation benefits rumble strips Des Plaines collections attorney Rolling Meadows employment attorney advance healthcare directive estate plan trucking accident lawyers Buffalo Grove traffic lawyers Crystal Lake pet attorney Illinois traffic ticket lawyer condo association Illinois traffic attorneys criminal defense Super Mario Des Plaines DUI attorney Inverness real estate attorney comparative negligence capital gains tax homestead rights Schaumburg corporate attorney construction contracts Palatine trusts lawyer Illinois Sales Representative Act dog bites Palatine traffic accidents Barrington employment attorney license federal regulations for LLCs Rolling Meadows DUI lawyer Arlington Heights trucking lawyer Schaumburg real estate lawyer Crystal Lake personal injury lawyer power of attorney traffic violations defense traffic offenses wills construction accidents, personal injury, wrongful death, Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys, workers' compensation independent contractor truck collisions Palatine personal injury lawyer Deer Park personal injury lawyer Illinois pedestrian accident attorney boating accidents holiday statistics Palatine traffic lawyer auto accidents living trust benefits Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act Chicago attorney Illinois boating accident lawyer expungement preventing accidents Barrington Traffic Lawyer traffic tickets Rolling Meadows criminal lawyer CAM traffic deaths Chicago employment lawyer DUI attorney Illinois Smoke Detector Act Schaumburg criminal attorney Inverness insurance attorney gift taxes Des Plaines accident attorney involuntary manslaughter pet law Buffalo Grove car accident lawyer Barrington employment law attorney Arlington Heights TBI attorney Schaumburg employment attorney Des Plaines personal injury lawyer Barrington estate planning lawyer license suspension traumatic brain injury privacy Illinois LLC creation employment attorney insurance negligence modern family estate planning insurance dispute personal injury, auto accident injuries, delayed injuries, serious injuries, Des Plaines personal injury attorneys probate fees Palatine business attorney insurance attorney owner responsibility DUI defense traffic accidents Illinois traffic accident lawyer deadly crashes Illinois traffic laws Des Plaines Traffic Lawyer personal injury attorney employment lawyer Schaumburg injury lawyer Illinois motorcycle accident lawyer Barrington boating accident attorney job lawyers car collision insurance disputes, Illinois insurance disputes, Illinois insurance dispute attorneys, denied insurance claims, Arlington Heights insurance dispute attorneys Landlord Tenant Ordinance Buffalo Grove personal injury attorney insurance dispute attorney Illinois workers compensation attorney severance agreements changes to mortgage law operating agreements Illinois traffic attorney life insurance elder abuse Rolling Meadows drug defense attorney bicycle accidents living wills pet bites estate planning attorney rollover car crashes Schaumburg personal injury lawyers Long Grove estate planning attorney Chicago will attorney drug crimes lawyer Fair Labor Standards Act unfunded trust wills and trusts Palatine employment law lawyer Barrington injury attorney landlord personal injury Arlington Heights insurance attorney motorcycle accident Long Grove real estate lawyer Detainer Actions hiring employees drugs civil rights violation Arlington Heights wills and trusts lawyers blended families Inverness elder law lawyer Arlington Heights wills and trusts attorneys insurance dispute, insurance dispute lawyers, insurance claim denial, insurance claim delays, Rolling Meadows insurance dispute attorneys Illinois employment law Buffalo Grove employment lawyer Buffalo Grove injury lawyer Arlington Heights car accident lawyer criminal insurance claim denials bike accident Schaumburg field sobriety test Illinois insurance lawyer Rolling Meadows personal injury lawyer trustee insurance agents loss of consortium estate planning distracted driving accident victims ACA in terrorem provision Illinois trucking safety hands free device appealing an insurance claim Palatine civil litigation lawyer hit and run accident real estate zoning Des Plaines tax law firm rent to own real estate contracts probate lawyer Rolling Meadows litigation lawyer Illinois business law atorneys dynasty trusts civil litigation criminal record traffic laws sexual images Illinois law Illinois criminal defense attorney Home Remodeling Repair Act Illinois workplace discrimination attorney real estate attorneys Rolling Meadows personal injury attorney insurance claim dispute insurance adjusters foreclosed rental property defective products Des Plaines Palatine drug lawyer Des Plaines drug lawyer Barrington criminal lawyer Deer Park criminal attorney insurance claim marijuana crimes attorney DUI penalities landlord tenant law pedestrian-automobile accident loopholes cell phone tower data Barrington litigation attorney subcontractor Illinois insurance claim dispute lawyers power of attorney for healthcare Illinois probate lawyer life insurance policy overtime violations Illinois medical malpractice lawyers Crystal Lake pedestrian accident lawyer Family Medical Leave Act drunk driving statistics Illinois real estate lawyer senior citizens work unions brain injury Buffalo Grove law firm Chicago car accident lawyer car accident lawyers ken apicella Illinois home inspection tax attorney probate claims Des Plaines drug crimes lawyer Crystal Lake traffic lawyer FSLA Palatine corporate attorney caretaker rights medical malpractice claims Palatine employment attorney ObamaCare small business IRA benefits Crystal Lake medical malpractice lawyer Deer Park real estate law firm Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission commercial real estate Crystal Lake estate planning lawyer sole proprietorship Illinois will lawyer Illinois injury lawyer employment contract, employment law, employment at-will, Deer Park employment law attorneys, contract, Rolling Meadows employment law attorneys Inverness injury lawyer Schaumburg civil litigation attorney Buffalo Grove probate lawyer Des Plaines claims law firm Des Plaines pet law attorney estate planning, death tax, succession plans, business estate plans, Barrington estate planning lawyers attorney fees Buffalo Grove traffic attorney estate planning for college students car accident lawyer estate planning, digital assets, Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, Illinois digital assets, Illinois estate planning, medical malpractice compensation Arlington Heights wills and trusts attorney insurance denials jet ski insurance claim denial drunk driving Palatine construction attorney condo Schaumburg personal injury attorney Des Plaines personal injury lawyers Chicago will attorney, social media platforms, Illinois estate planning lawyer, healthcare claims social media after death digital evidence Illinois business lawyer Illinois estate planning life insurance lawyer Rolling Meadows Traffic Lawyer natural gas explosion Deer Park workers compensation lawyer Rolling Meadows employment law attorney healthcare installment contracts speeding commercial leasing Inverness real estate lawyer Palatine elder law attorney right to work South Barrington real estate attorney employee rights workers comp Illinois red light cameras insurance agent negligence estate tax Crystal Lake accident attorney Schaumburg wrongful death attorney drug crimes federal crimes Crystal Lake car accident attorney Palatine probate lawyer home inspection lawyer Illinois attorney food poisoning Illinois registered agent Fourth of July Illinois Transfer on Death Instrument Inverness corporate attorney Crystal Lake personal injury attorney living trust Rolling Meadows real estate attorney Illinois employment law attorney vacation home Rolling Meadows Kenilworth estate planning attorney bad faith insurance claims Self-Directed IRA Accounts Rolling Meadows insurance dispute lawyers Rolling Meadows boating crash lawyer Illinois medical malpractice claim slip and fall accidents problem employees meal breaks child safety Long Grove wills and trusts attorneys Chicago lawyer Illinois medical malpractice attorney college kids jet ski accidents products liability Illinois estate planning law firm Arlington Heights accident attorney elder law Des Plaines medical malpractice attorney Barrington drug crime attorney construction accidents nursing home negligence insurance claim dispute attorney Illinois lawyer revenge porn medical research estate attorney Palatine criminal defense lawyer Illinois personal injury attorney Illinois insurance claim dispute lawyer Des Plaines real estate attorney denial of life insurance personal injury claim Des Plaines insurance attorney unauthorized overtime BAIID Illinois bicycle safety privacy laws Crystal Lake car accident lawyer Schaumburg traffic lawyer Palatine punch death living trust vs will Illinois insurance disputes underage DUI commercial leases breathalyzer test reckless homicide crossover accidents Illinois wills and trusts attorneys Illinois jet ski accident lawyer Deer Park medical malpractice attorney IRS Colin H. Gilbert Rolling Meadows personal injury lawyers deed transfer coronavirus murder Deer Park accident attorney employment contract breach of contract denied insurance claims Illinois estate planning attorney Illinois insurance dispute lawyers Barrington workers compensation attorney Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act personal injury law firm murder defense Illinois employment laws traffic violations FMLA Chicago biking tips Schaumburg estate planning lawyer spinal cord injuries Rolling Meadows car accident lawyers Transfer on Death Instrument insurance claim delay Arlington Heights personal injury lawyer Des Plaines real estate lawyer Illinois corporate lawyer Inverness estate planning lawyer preventable medical errors Crystal Lake will lawyer Inverness civil lawyer Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Rolling Meadows insurance attorney Arlington Heights car crash attorneys Illinois medical malpractice case swimming pools Crystal Lake bike accident lawyer golf accidents Crystal Lake law firm car crash Crystal Lake civil litigation lawyer boating DUI Arlington Heights lawyer Rolling Meadows corporate lawyer Forcible Entry paid sick leave Illinois wills and trusts Barrington medical malpractice lawyers accidental death benefits pedestrian accident Crystal Lake employment law attorney Buffalo Grove insurance claim dispute lawyers Rolling Meadows traffic law firm Arlington Heights real estate lawyer Arlington Heights medical malpractice lawyer Attorney Ken Apicella Illinois tax attorney trust payments icy parking lots Crystal Lake criminal defense attorney POA employee misclassification employment law Barrington real estate lawyer underinsured motorist Illinois personal injury lawyers Buffalo Grove personal injury lawyer Arlington Heights Attorney Rolling Meadows business lawyer Schaumburg elder law lawyer car accident Buffalo Grove medical malpractice lawyers Illinois DUI attorney fault based insurance boating under the influence Chicago estate planning lawyer fatal car accidents South Barrington real estate lawyer surgical mistakes Rolling Meadows accident lawyer Inverness accident lawyer Arlington Heights wills and trusts lawyer natural gas mortgage Employment Discrimination Law Crystal Lake traffic attorney Illinois pet lawyer no contest clauses Inverness personal injury attorney Arlington Heights tax lawyer Chicago insurance law firm first degree murder underfunded trust Illinois insurance claims lawyers Illinois insurance claim attorney Illinois workers compensation lawyer real estate leasing guardianship attorney Barrington personal injury attorney employment law, meal breaks, rest breaks, hotel employees, Des Plaines employment law attorneys comp time Crystal Lake tax lawyer Deer Park traffic accident attorney Mount Prospect real estate lawyer Illinois living will car crashes filing a medical malpractice claim traumatic brain injuries Arlington Heights Traffic Lawyer LLCs Arlington Heights employment law attorneys uninsured motorist Buffalo Grove corporate attorney wage theft Mt Prospect Attorney financial advisors Rolling Meadows medical malpractice lawyers civil litigation attorney internet blood alcohol content DUI Kenilworth estate planning attorneys back injuries Illinois mortgages Policy Cancellation Schaumburg car accident attorney pedestrian accidents residential real estate Crystal Lake business law attorneys Chicago estate planning Illinois Probate Act of 1975 new real estate form Illinois driving without license Thanksgiving wrongful termination Long Grove estate planning Palatine Attorney Rolling Meadows insurance dispute lawyers, insurance dispute digital media accounts, estate planning, Arlington Heights estate planning attorney, real estate contract manufacturing Illinois Human Rights Act head on collisions Illinois workplace lawyer trench injuries personal injury claims medical marijuana DGAA Colin Gilbert Mount Prospect wills and trusts lawyers pregnant women automated cars liens Illinois real estate fiduciary rule delay criminal law Crystal Lake medical malpractice attorneys BAC Inverness DUI lawyer Barrington criminal defense lawyer Barrington personal injury lawyer caregiver digital assets Palatine corporate law attorneys Rolling Meadows criminal attorney medical malpractice Illinois employee rights attorney. texting while driving liability overtime pay murder charges PTSD whistleblower protections employee discrimination mass shooting minimum wage Illinois personal injury lawyer Palatine law firm Illinois rollover accident lawyers Crystal Lake medical malpractice law firm Illinois small business investment property cell phone taxes personal injury accidents Inverness traffic law firm Mount Prospect elder law attorney Des Plaines criminal attorney Palatine employment lawyer Chicago traffic lawyer Illinois trusts attorney marijuana pizza emoji Crystal Lake insurance lawyer Schaumburg criminal law attorney workplace sexual harassment premises liability disability benefits Rolling Meadows tax attorney Deer Park employment law attorney trusts real estate lawyer car crash injuries contracts unpaid overtime Rolling Meadows probate lawyer cell phone accidents Crystal lake insurance dispute attorney medical malpractice, missed diagnosis, delayed diagnosis, medical mistake, Deer Creek medical malpractice lawyers Buffalo Grove real estate attorney workers compensation Do Not Resuscitate insurance disputes spinal cord injury Palatine workers compensation lawyer llinois Real Estate Lawyers Association consent to a search sexual harassment employees anesthesia errors Illinois wrongful termination lawyer rollover accidents wrongful termination, employment law, whistleblower protections, Illinois employment laws, discrimination in the workplace Buffalo Grove criminal defense lawyer TBI wrongful death insurance denial appeals Schaumburg estate attorney corporate law Food and Drug Administration's Food Safety Modernization Act Illinois employment lawyer Palatine insurance lawyer Kenilworth estate planning lawyer Illinois car accident attorney Crystal Lake employment attorney Schaumburg drug defense lawyer life insurance claims Arlington Heights traffic attorney Crystal Lake employment lawyer Schaumburg personal injury lawyer Schaumburg insurance lawyers vacation home fines IRA trust transfer Barrington attorney Home Sale Contingencies Illinois civil litigation lawyer fiduciary rule Joliet general practice lawyers drug possession drug crime bicycle dooring accidents Barrington Illinois estate planning lawyer medication errors foreclosure real estate closing Liquor Control Act compensatory time estate planning trusts IRELA Illinois insurance attorney income distribution deducation pain and suffering Long Grove real estate attorney Des Plaines motorcycle accident attorney license reinstatement health insurance dispute driving startup company insurance claims defective products lawyer