Does Illinois Have Caps On Damages?

Personal Injury | June 10, 2020

Damage Caps in Illinois

If you or somebody you love sustains an injury caused by the careless or negligent actions of another person, you should be able to recover compensation for your losses. This could include recovery of compensation through insurance settlements or it may include filing a personal injury lawsuit against the alleged negligent party. Regardless of how you receive compensation for what happened, you need to know whether or not there are any limitations on the amount of money you can receive in damages. These limitations are called “caps,” and we discuss those here.

What kind of compensation is available in an Illinois personal injury case?

If a person is injured due to the negligence of somebody else in Illinois, they could be eligible for various types of compensation for their losses. This includes the following types of economic and non-economic damages:

  • Coverage of all medical bills related to the injury
  • Lost income if a victim cannot work
  • Loss of future earnings or future earning potential in cases of disability
  • Any out-of-pocket expenses caused by the injury
  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Loss of enjoyment of life damages
  • Possible punitive damages against an alleged grossly negligent party

Understanding caps on personal injury damages in Illinois

The total amount of compensation awarded to victims who have been harmed by another person’s actions will vary depending on circumstances related to each particular case. In many states, there are limitations, or caps, placed on how much compensation in person can receive in these situations. This is particularly true for various “pain and suffering” damages.

Fortunately, there are no limitations on the damages that a person can receive in the aftermath of a personal injury case in Illinois. Any attempts to limit the amount of pain and suffering damages awarded have been deemed unconstitutional by the Illinois Supreme Court.

How is pain and suffering calculated in Illinois?

Calculating a person’s total medical bills and lost wages is not particularly difficult. However, calculating pain and suffering damages in Illinois can be more complicated. There are no bills or receipts that can show a person’s pain and suffering. In these cases, arriving at a dollar value for pain and suffering often involves what is called the “multiplier method.”

Using the multiplier method, an attorney will completely calculate a victim’s economic damages and then multiply that figure by a set number (typically 1 through 4). For example, if an injury victim’s medical bills in lost wages total $100,000, an attorney may take that figure and multiply it by three to arrive at their pain and suffering damage figure. In this case, that would mean $300,000.

Do you need an attorney to help with these cases?

In order to properly calculate a victim’s total losses, both economic and non-economic, an attorney is going to be incredibly beneficial for an Illinois personal injury case. An attorney will have the resources and legal experience necessary to conduct a full investigation and gather all evidence needed to prove liability. Personal injury victims need to be focused on making a full recovery, not on proving their case to an insurance carrier or jury.