Factors That Affect Compensation for a Personal Injury Claim

Personal Injury | September 13, 2021

Anytime a person sustains an injury caused by the careless, negligent, or intentional actions of someone else, they should be able to recover compensation for their losses. In general, this will mean the ability to recover economic and non-economic damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering damages, property damage expenses, and more. However, there are a variety of factors that go into determining how much compensation is awarded for a personal injury claim in Illinois. Here, we want to examine some of the main factors that could influence compensation for these claims.

1. The severity of the injuries

The reality is that any person who sustains a severe injury as a result of the negligence of someone else will likely receive higher compensation through a personal injury insurance settlement or jury verdict. There are a variety of formulas used to determine the value of a personal injury claim, and many of these revolve around the nature and extent of the injuries and how much medical treatment is needed. Spinal cord trauma resulting in partial or complete paralysis is going to result in a person securing more compensation than someone who sustained only a temporary injury such as a broken arm.

2. Property damage expenses

If there was any property damaged in the same incident that caused a person to sustain an injury, this would also need to be taken into consideration. Typically, we hear about property damage as a result of car accidents because cars can be incredibly expensive to repair or replace. However, there are other types of property that can be damaged in these situations, including expensive cell phones, computers, sunglasses, and even pets (yes, pets are considered property in these situations). 

3. Lost income if a person cannot work

Some personal injuries prevent a person from working while they are recovering. In these cases, individuals may be unable to return to work at all after sustaining an injury. Lost income for an injury victim has to be taken into consideration.

4. The level of a victim’s pain and suffering

A person’s physical and emotional pain and suffering caused by an injury will also be taken into consideration when it comes to determining non-economic damages. The level of pain and suffering will vary depending on multiple factors, including the severity of the initial injury, the effectiveness of any medical treatment, and the level of any disability. Pain and suffering damages are often calculated by using a “multiplier method,” where an attorney will add up all of the economic damages and then multiply that by a set number, typically a number ranging from 1.5 to 5.

5. Insurance limits

In a personal injury case, there is no way around examining how much insurance the at-fault party has. Insurance carriers are not going to pay more compensation than the policy allows for. For example, if a person has a $250,000 personal injury liability vehicle accident insurance policy, but the injury expenses rise to $400,000, this will leave a significant gap between what the insurance carrier will cover and the overall costs for the victim. In these situations, it may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party in order to recover more compensation.

6. Shared fault

It could be the case that the injury victim is implicated in causing their own injury. It is not uncommon for more than one party to be at fault in these situations. Illinois operates under a modified comparative negligence system. This means that individuals can still recover compensation, so long as they are less than 50% responsible for their injuries. Any person 50% or more responsible for causing their injuries will not be able to recover compensation.

The total amount of compensation an injury victim receives will be reduced based on their percentage of fault. If a person would otherwise have received $10,000 for a slip and fall injury, but it is determined that they were 20% responsible for the incident, then they would receive $8,000 instead of the full $10,000.