Calculating pain and suffering damages in Illinois is not as straightforward as calculating other types of financial compensation. Unlike with damages like your medical expenses, there is no objective way to determine what a pain and suffering claim is worth.
Damages for pain and suffering might be subjective, but calculating them relies on some set factors like the cost of your medical care. A personal injury lawyer from our firm could help you pursue fair compensation for the physical pain you suffered in your injury case.
In This Article
Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages Is an Inexact Science
There are certain types of damages available in a personal injury lawsuit that are simple to calculate. Known as economic damages, this form of compensation can be measured down to the exact dollar you deserve to recover. The most common example of economic damages is your medical expenses.
Proving the amount of your economic damages requires documentary evidence. You could use anything from medical bills to auto repair estimates to show the jury what it would take to make you financially whole.
The same is not true when calculating pain and suffering damages. Pain and suffering compensation falls into a category known as non-economic damages. These damages are not designed to replace your financial losses stemming from an injury. Instead, they are designed to provide compensation for the subjective hardships that can result from a car accident.
What Is the Multiplier Method?
Pain and suffering damages are separate from your medical bills, but they are related indirectly through the multiplier method. The multiplier method is a tool that a jury can use to determine a fair amount of compensation for your physical pain and suffering.
This method starts with an objective look at your medical expenses. The cost of your medical care is only a baseline, as other factors could increase or decrease the extent of your physical pain.
Once the full amount of your medical expenses is set, the next step is to use a multiplier to calculate pain and suffering damages. This multiplier could be between the numbers 1 and 5. More severe pain could result in a higher multiplier, while lower multipliers could be available for less pain.
An Example of How the Multiplier Method is Used
Consider the following example. A motorist is injured in a collision with a negligent driver. At trial, a jury must first determine the amount of medical bills the plaintiff is facing. Next, the jury must determine the appropriate multiplier.
If the jury determines that the injured motorist suffered $10,000 in medical expenses and applies a multiplier of two, they will assess $20,000 in pain and suffering damages as well.
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Different Factors Can Impact Your Pain and Suffering Compensation
The multiplier method is only a starting point for calculating pain and suffering compensation. Before a jury can calculate the exact amount of compensation necessary for pain and suffering damages, they must decide what multiplier to use. Unlike the total cost of your medical care, this part of the calculation is variable. To set this amount, juries will consider a wide range of factors.
In general, a jury could increase the multiplier used for calculating pain and suffering based on the extent of your injuries. The more severe your injuries are, the higher the multiplier might be. This concept can extend to other areas of your life. The greater the impact your pain has on your ability to enjoy life or earn a living, the higher the multiplier is likely to be.
Another important factor is the long-term implications of your injury. If you are dealing with permanent disfigurement or chronic pain, it could increase the multiplier used in calculating your pain and suffering damages.
The Per Diem Method
“Per Diem” is Latin for “per day.” With this method, a dollar amount is decided on for you to receive each day you suffer from your injuries. Justifying the daily rate could be difficult as it may be met with resistance from an insurance company or defense attorney. However, your lawyer can argue why your rate is reasonable.
Our firm wants you to receive the compensation you are entitled to. Your lawyer will determine the best way for your pain and suffering to be calculated and advocate for you.
There Are no Limitations on Pain and Suffering Damages in Illinois
In some states, there is a hard limit on the amount of pain and suffering compensation you can recover through a personal injury lawsuit. Some states only apply these caps to medical malpractice cases, while others apply these limits to every type of personal injury lawsuit.
Thankfully, there is no cap on pain and suffering compensation under Illinois law. The finder of fact in your case—typically a jury—has the final word on determining what compensation you are entitled to recover.
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Talk to Us Today About Your Pain and Suffering Claim
If you were hurt in an accident, our firm could advise you on how pain and suffering is calculated in Illinois. While there is no way for your attorney to guarantee a specific amount of pain and suffering damages in your case, our firm could inform you of what a possible outcome might look like.
The Kryder Law Group, LLC is prepared to help you pursue all the compensation you deserve, from pain and suffering to lost wages and every point in between. If you are ready to get started with your case, call (312) 223-1700 for a free consultation.