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Pain and Suffering Damages Calculation in Illinois

Posted on December 7, 2022

When individuals sustain injuries caused by the careless or negligent actions of others, they are often able to recover compensation for their losses. This compensation recovery can happen through an insurance settlement or as a result of a successful personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. One of the most challenging aspects of this process is adequately calculating non-economic damages, often referred to as pain and suffering damages.

What Are Pain and Suffering Damages?

“Pain and suffering damages” is a phrase that you have likely heard, but you may not quite understand what it means. These types of losses are recoverable after a vehicle accident, but they are going to fall under the umbrella of non-economic damages (often referred to as general damages). These are considered compensable damages after a vehicle accident or any other type of injury occurs, but they are not the same as economic damages such as calculable medical bills and lost wages.

Non-economic damages revolve around more “unseen” and less calculable aspects of a vehicle accident, but these damages are nonetheless just as important. Some of the most common types of losses that are compensable under the non-economic damage umbrella include:

  • Compensation for physical pain and suffering endured by an injury victim
  • Compensation for emotional and psychological trauma caused by the incident and the injuries
  • Loss of quality of life damages if a person is disabled
  • Scarring and disfigurement damages
  • Loss of consortium and companionship damages for family members or a spouse

Calculating Non-Economic Damages in Illinois

Actually calculating pain and suffering damages in Illinois is more challenging than calculating economic losses. That is because there aren’t any direct bills or receipts that will typically come in to help prove these types of losses.

One of the most common methods an attorney will use to calculate non-economic damages in Illinois is called the “multiplier method.” Using this method, an attorney will add up all of the economic damages and multiply that total by a set number (typically a number ranging from 2 to 5).

For example, let us imagine a theoretical scenario where a car accident victim is awarded $250,000 in economic damages. If an attorney were to use a multiplier of three, this would mean that the non-economic damages requested would equal $750,000. Overall, an attorney would request $1 million in compensation for their client.

Another method that could be used to calculate non-economic damages is called the “per diem method.” Using this method, an attorney would assign a specific dollar value to every day that a person is expected to endure pain and suffering as a result of their injury. Let us suppose that it is decided that a person’s pain and suffering is worth $400 a day, and they are expected to experience this pain and suffering for two years (730 days). Using this method, the total non-economic damages would equal $292,000 (by multiplying 730 by $400).

We strongly encourage any individual who sustains an injury caused by the actions of another party to work with an attorney who can help adequately calculate all of their expected losses.