How Are Damages Assessed In a Personal Injury Case?

Personal Injury | February 20, 2021

Calculating Personal Injury Compensation in Illinois

If you or somebody you care about has sustained an injury caused by the careless, negligent, or intentional actions of somebody else, you should be able to receive compensation for your injuries and other losses. In order to recover compensation, it is crucial to prove the fault of the other party. It is also important to properly calculate the total damages associated with the case.

In order to properly assess the damages in these situations, it is strongly advised that an injury victim works with a skilled Chicago personal injury attorney with experience handling complex cases. Here, we want to discuss how damages are assessed in a personal injury case.

There are Different Types of Damages in a Personal Injury Case

For most personal injury cases, victims will be able to recover compensation for both economic and non-economic compensation. As we discuss how damages are assessed in a personal injury case, it is important to break these two types of compensation down for further examination.

Economic Compensation

Economic compensation is also referred to as “special damages.” This is the type of compensation that is considered to be calculable after a personal injury occurs. By calculable, we mean things that can be ended up using bills, receipts, pay stubs, etc. These are considered quantifiable damages. Some of the most common types of economic compensation that injury victims receive include the following:

  • Coverage of medical bills
  • Lost income if they cannot work
  • General household out-of-pocket expenses
  • Property damage expenses

As we mentioned, calculating economic compensation involves gathering all quantifiable evidence that a loss has occurred. An injury victim or their attorney will simply add up all of these losses to reach the total.

Non-economic Compensation

Non-economic compensation is also referred to as “general damages.” This type of compensation is going to be harder to calculate than the economic compensation we mentioned above. That is because non-economic compensation refers to things that are more immeasurable and less quantifiable. You will often hear non-economic compensation referred to as the “pain and suffering” that an injury victim endures as a result of the incident. Some of the most common types of general damages that an injury victim can recover compensation for include the following:

  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Emotional distress damages
  • Scarring and disfigurement damages
  • Loss of quality of life damages
  • Loss of future earnings or earning potential

Properly calculating non-economic damages is more challenging because there are no direct bills or receipts that can be gathered and added up. However, that does not make these damages any less real to the victim. In order to calculate the damages, an attorney will often use a “multiplier method.” This means that they will add up all of the economic damages the victim incurs and multiply that by a set number, usually a number ranging from 1.5 to 5.

Coming up with the total amount of personal injury damages

Using the definitions we discussed with you above, let us come up with a hypothetical situation. Suppose that Billy is T-boned by an impaired driver and sustains a traumatic brain injury. If Billy’s total economic losses reached $200,000, then his attorney could use a multiplier of “three” to estimate a total of $600,000 in non-economic damages. In total, Billy and his attorney will seek $800,000 in total compensation from the at-fault driver.