In Illinois, you can sue for “damages”. In the legal context, damages refers to compensation and money you can receive after you have been injured. Citizens of Illinois can sue for both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are out-of-pocket expenses such as medical bills or
Proving economic damages can be done by submitting medical bills, lost wages, and other general expenses as evidence. In Illinois, you are allowed to sue for future medical bills if the problem is likely to continue.
Non-economic damages are more subjective. Juries may consider the following:
Courts give little guidance to a jury about deciding how much to award the injured. Some attorneys use the “multiplier method”. They take the economic damages and multiply it by a number between two and five. For example, if someone has medical bills that add up to $50,000, an accident lawyer may ask for $150,000. That is three times the amount. But this is a crude method and is not really how most knowledgeable attorneys approach such calculations. Damages for certain injuries may in fact be hundreds of times higher.
The amount of compensation you receive depends on your case. Damages for a car accident are different from the amount you might get from a medical malpractice case. Judges and juries need to weigh many different factors.
Some states limit the amount of money someone can receive for a personal injury case, but Illinois does presently not have a cap. In the court case Abigaile Lebron v. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, the Supreme Court of Illinois ruled that caps on compensation for pain and suffering violated the state constitution. If you want to sue the state government, there is a cap of $100,000 for personal injury cases, but this does not apply to accidents involving state government owned cars.
Illinois is what is known as a “modified comparative negligence” state. This means that if the accident was 15% someone’s fault, the most that they can recover is 85% of the total amount. If someone was going over the speed limit but was hit from behind due to no fault of their own, they might not be able to receive the entire compensation possible. A judge or jury may rule that their speeding contributed to the accident.
In addition, no one can recover if they were more than 50% responsible for the injury. Determining who was at fault and how much they were at fault is left up to the court and the lawyers. If you have any questions about how this works, it may prove useful to contact a personal injury lawyer.
In Illinois, people are allowed to sue for punitive damages. Someone may act in a way that is considered so far beyond anything reasonable that the state must punish them to stop these actions from happening again. If someone was deliberately trying to harm or defraud someone else, you might be able to sue them for additional money intended to teach them a lesson and save others in the future from such treatment.
Accidents can lead to life-altering injuries and permanent loss. They are traumatic and can leave deep wounds. After you have been through a car crash or a similar event, you should focus on getting better. It is very likely that you are in physical pain and suffering from emotional as well as financial distress. These are all pressing matters, and you need to do the best to help yourself.
A personal injury lawyer can make your burdens lighter. It may not seem like a big deal, especially if you are dealing with physical and emotional trauma, but after you call an attorney you will be thankful that you did.
Simply put, insurance companies are not your friends. These are companies that exist solely to make money, not to do "what’s right" or "what’s fair." The more money that they make, the higher their stock prices rise and the happier their stockholders are. Is it your job to help make insurance companies happy? It most certainly is not. How do insurance companies make more money? By paying you as little as possible. Then they just keep the money that they fail to pay you. They will offer you the lowest amount that they think you will accept. Insurance companies have little financial incentive to be honest when they are dealing with you.
At first, you might think that you don’t need a lawyer to represent you. Especially if an insurance company is involved - they will undoubtedly tell you that an attorney is unnecessary, and they may try to convince you that there is no need to file any sort of lawsuit. But, by not first speaking to a lawyer, you may end up giving away or ignoring certain rights that you have. You may miss important deadlines that are intended to protect you and you may put in jeopardy your chances for a healthy, meaningful, debt-free future.
Having legal counsel keeps insurance companies honest. Your attorney will help make sure that you are not signing your rights away. Accident lawyers will fight for you. Having an attorney by your side could mean the difference between receiving compensation that barely covers your medical expenses and a settlement that guarantees a brighter future and puts your mind at ease.
Whether you’ve been injured in a car crash, by a doctor, or in a work-related accident, chances are that the other party is insured. In such a situation, it’s the other person’s insurance company that is "on the hook" for any money damages, not the negligent person. So it’s no surprise that an insurance adjuster will try to handle the case directly with you. They know that once an experienced injury attorney gets involved, they’ll be forced to pay you the maximum compensation available under the law, not just the lowest dollar amount they can get away with.
What drives an insurance adjuster to offer the highest available money settlement for an injury case? Is it a desire to do what’s fair? No. It’s the fear that you’ll hire an excellent injury attorney who will force them to do what’s right, and who will take the case all the way to a jury trial if necessary, obtaining a verdict for even more money than the company was willing to pay in the first place.
Is an insurance company afraid that an injured person not represented by a lawyer is going to know how to do all those things necessary to secure a large jury verdict? That the injured person is going to know how to properly conduct a trial, subpoena records, and conduct depositions? It’s very unlikely that an insurance adjuster will feel any pressure at all in such a situation.
Remember when you played softball in grade school, and the kid who hardly ever got a hit came to the plate? All the infielders came in from the outfield because they weren’t worried about the possibility of a home run. It’s sort of like that. You need a heavy hitter to go to bat for you when you have an Illinois personal injury case. Then good things follow.