How to Recover Damages for Pain and Suffering in Illinois

Accidents and injuries often come with considerable monetary expenses, but the personal cost to plaintiffs may be deeper than bills. Pain and suffering may be extensive, and injured plaintiffs deserve fair compensation.

Damages for pain and suffering may be claimed as non-economic damages as part of your overall compensatory damages. Pain and suffering are sometimes difficult to prove but may be inferred from the nature of your injuries. Damages for pain and suffering may be worth quite a lot of compensation, and how these damages are calculated is important. Courts and attorneys often calculate these damages through the per diem or multiplier methods. In the past, the state imposed limitations on how much compensation a plaintiff could recover for non-economic damages, including pain and suffering. Thanks to a ruling from the Supreme Court of Illinois, that law was deemed unconstitutional, and there are no limits in most cases.

Call our Illinois personal injury lawyers at the Rhatigan Law Offices at (312) 578-8502 to schedule a free review of your case.

How to Claim Damages for Pain and Suffering in Illinois

Pain and suffering are vague terms that can be used to describe numerous injuries and their effects. According to 735 I.L.C.S. § 5/2-1115.2(b), pain and suffering are part of a plaintiff’s non-economic losses. To put things into perspective, other non-economic damages similar to pain and suffering include disfigurement, loss of consortium, and loss of society.

Generally, pain and suffering may be interpreted to encompass physical and mental pain and anguish. In many personal injury claims, these damages stem from some physical injury, but this is not always true. In many other claims, like wrongful death, the plaintiff’s pain and suffering stem from grief or emotional experiences.

Since pain and suffering are parts of a plaintiff’s compensatory damages, our Joilet, IL personal injury lawyers may raise them wherever economic damages are raised. For example, if you were injured in an accident, you could claim economic damages for your medical bills. You could also claim damages for the pain and suffering you endured because of your injuries.

Pain and suffering may or may not be worth a lot of compensation. It all depends on the nature of your injuries and claims. For some, pain and suffering are minimal, even if their injuries and economic losses are severe. For others, their economic losses might be small, but their pain and suffering might still be great.

What Are Damages for Pain and Suffering Worth in Illinois?

The value of a plaintiff’s pain and suffering may vary greatly depending on the nature of their claims. Not only that, but their compensation might also vary based on how damages for pain and suffering are calculated. Below are two methods commonly used by courts and attorneys to calculate non-economic damages, including pain and suffering, although other methods might be available in your case.

Per Diem Method

The per diem method works by first determining how many days you have endured pain and suffering. Next, we assign a dollar value to each day. For example, suppose you experienced pain and suffering for 150 days or about 5 months. Next, suppose we want to argue that each day you lived with the pain and emotional suffering of your injuries should be worth $120. In that case, your total compensation for pain and suffering would come out to $18,000.

The key to this calculation method is to argue for the highest dollar value to assign to each day of your pain and suffering. If your pain and suffering were severe, the dollar value assigned to each day should be higher. On top of that, our estimation of how long you endured pain and suffering should be as accurate as possible. In some cases, the pain and suffering are ongoing, and we can account for future days for compensation.

We should also prepare evidence of your pain and suffering for the jury. For example, if you saw a mental health professional or therapist about your emotional anguish, we can have your therapist testify about your experiences. We can also use medical records to establish the severity of your physical injuries.

Multiplier Method

The multiplier method works by multiplying the value of your economic damages by a figure proposed by you and your attorney. Generally, the multiplier figure is somewhere between 1 and 5. The more serious your pain and suffering are, the higher the multiplier figure should be. Remember, while we will advocate for the highest multiplier number for your case, the other side will be arguing against us. As such, we need evidence to support your pain and suffering claims.

There are several key steps to pay special attention to here. First, we must make sure all your economic damages are accounted for. Since the multiplier method uses your economic losses as a basis for your none-noneconomic damages, we need to make sure your economic damages calculations are as high as possible.

Ultimately, the jury decides how much your non-economic damages, including pain and suffering, are worth. Even so, we can help you advocate for the greatest compensation possible by emphasizing the degree of pain and suffering you went through because of the defendant.

Limits on Damages for Pain and Suffering in Chicago

In the past, the law in Illinois places a statutory limit on the value of a plaintiff’s non-economic damages, including damages for pain and suffering. Once you hit this limit, you could not recover any additional compensation, no matter how bad your pain and suffering were. Thanks to a ruling by the Supreme Court of Illinois in the 2010 case of Lebron v. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, the statutory limit on non-economic damages was deemed unconstitutional and overturned.

Now, there are no limits on your damages for pain and suffering. Your compensation may be as high as the jury deems necessary to adequately compensate you for your losses.

Call Our Illinois Personal Injury Attorneys to Discuss Your Damages

Call our Chicago personal injury attorneys at the Rhatigan Law Offices at (312) 578-8502 to schedule a free assessment of your case.