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


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