The jury will decide on the damage award you receive for your car accident injuriesIn order to decide whether it is worth it for you to file an Illinois auto accident case, you need to know what damages you may recover if your case is successful. Whether a case will be worth your time will depend on a number of factors including:

  • How badly you were injured in the crash. Very minor injuries that did not result in medical bills and that did not cause you to lose time from work may not be worth filing a lawsuit over.
  • Whether there is sufficient evidence to support your claim. You will need to prove that someone else’s negligence caused your injuries in order to recover damages.
  • Whether you were partially at fault for the crash. Your damages may be reduced or eliminated if you were partially at fault for the accident.

For purposes of this article we will assume that you were less than 50 percent responsible for the accident, that you were badly hurt, and that you have the evidence necessary to prove the cause of your crash and the dollar value of your injuries.

Assuming This Is All True, What Are Your Possible Damages?

Your damages in a car accident settlement or court verdict may include compensation for your past, current, and future…

  • Medical expenses. This may include doctors’ visits, ambulance costs, hospital stays, surgeries, assistive devices such as wheelchairs or crutches, rehabilitation therapy such as physical therapy, and other costs directly related to your physical recovery.
  • Lost income. This may include all of your wages, or some of your wages if you are not able to work as many hours or in the same job as you did prior to your accident. It also applies if you are self-employed or work on a contract basis.
  • Out-of-pocket costs. This may include things such as damage to your vehicle, funeral expenses if your loved one died in the crash, and other bills that you had to pay as a direct result of your accident injuries.
  • Pain and suffering. This may include your physical pain and your emotional suffering. This is often the hardest category of damages to assign a dollar value, but it can be done based on the specific way the pain and suffering has impacted your life and the value that has been attached to pain and suffering in other cases.

Additionally, you may be compensated for a permanent disability or disfigurement and any other financial or emotional loss you incurred as a result of the crash.

Punitive damages are rarely awarded to victims of Illinois car accidents. However, in certain situations punitive damages that are meant to punish the defendant for his or her behavior may be allowed. In Illinois, punitive damages are not allowed when a defendant was “just” negligent. Instead, punitive damages are possible when the defendant’s conduct was willful, wanton, or reckless.

Wondering About the Actual Value of Your Damages?

The information provided above may allow you to start calculating your own possible damage award, but you will need more information. To talk about your case specifically and to understand whether you should file a claim, we encourage you to start a live chat with us now so that we can schedule a free initial consultation with you to discuss your unique situation.

Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.