Calculating damages in injury accidents is complex, involving considerations such as disfigurement, the loss of quality of life, ongoing medical costs, losses of earning capacity, pain and suffering, increased risks of future harm caused by the injury, aggravation of pre-existing conditions, and others. A Chicago accident attorney may use experts for help with valuing his or her clients’ cases in order to arrive at a range of monetary amounts within which settlements or verdicts should fall.
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Contributory Negligence By the Plaintiff
Under Illinois law, a jury determines the fault attributable to each party, including the plaintiff as well as the defendants. The jury then assigns percentages of fault to each party. If a plaintiff shares some liability for the accident’s cause, he or she will still be able to recover damages if his or her portion is less than 51 percent. Any gross verdict amount will be reduced by the amount of the plaintiff’s share of the fault. For example, in a case in which the plaintiff has 10 percent of the fault, his or her total damages will be reduced by 10 percent.
Calculating Medical Expenses
A Chicago accident attorney may get help from a medical expert in order to determine the value of the medical expense portion of a client’s claim. Medical expenses include all of the medical bills that the plaintiff has already incurred. They also include the value of all expected ongoing future care that he or she may need.
Punitive Damages in Rare Situations
In most personal injury cases, punitive damages will not be available. In rare situations, however, they may be available in addition to the compensatory economic and noneconomic damages categories. Punitive damages might only be awarded in situations in which the facts are especially egregious.
The available damages in a Chicago accident case will depend on the facts of an individual case. The potential categories might include medical expenses, future medical care and treatment needs, losses of income, and property losses. They might also include compensation for the pain and suffering that the accident has caused as well as the future expected pain and suffering, loss of the enjoyment of life, emotional distress, disfigurement, and others. Using his or her experience, a Chicago accident lawyer may work to arrive at a value that his or her client might reasonably expect in a settlement.