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


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