How Much Money Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering can be part of the damages you or a family member may be faced with after a personal injury, wrongful death, or motor vehicle accident.
You may be eligible for financial compensation based on what you experienced both at the time of the accident and afterward. But first, you must settle with the insurance company or file a personal injury case against the at-fault driver.
Were you or a loved one an injury victim in an accident or were you harmed due to malpractice? Did a loved one suffer a wrongful death due to negligence in a personal injury accident?
Our personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC can discuss compensation for your motor vehicle accident, fall accident, medical malpractice, or any other accident case.
Contact a car accident lawyer at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free) or complete the contact form to schedule a free case evaluation.
Physical Pain and Suffering are Subjective
Pain and suffering are the most subjective parts of any injury case. Unlike economic damages such as medical bills and lost wages, juries make a subjective judgment of how much they believe you have suffered.
Often, five different juries can reach five different results in the same case regarding the dollar amount of your physical pain and suffering. Plaintiffs go into every case wondering how much the jury will award them if their claim against the fault party goes to trial.
Similarly, when you have a personal injury claim, you will often end up disputing with the insurance how much they need to pay you for your pain and suffering. Every insurer hires adjusters who will try to lowball you on their settlement offer since it is in their financial interest.
The insurance provider will look at a settlement offer for pain and suffering but not necessarily look at the specific circumstances of injury victims. Instead, they have a number in mind as an amount of compensation that often has little to do with your severe injuries or mental anguish.
No Caps on Pain and Suffering Damages in Illinois
An injured person should know the definition of pain and suffering to understand the valuation of their case. In Illinois, any discomfort or distress from a physical injury would be considered pain and suffering as part of personal injury claims.
Some states make efforts to put a cap on pain and suffering damages in personal injury cases. States like Maryland have a limit on such damage and keep it to $875,000 in personal injury cases. Other states will have damage limitations depending on the type of case.
Florida has no cap on pain and suffering compensation limitations, but it does limit pain and suffering in medical malpractice cases to $500,000. For Illinois plaintiffs, there are no caps on pain and suffering.
Calculating Pain and Suffering Compensation with the Multiplier Method
Insurance companies will usually apply a multiplier to your other damages and use it to calculate pain and suffering costs. The multiplier they choose for your settlement amount depends on the severity of your injuries.
For instance, if you have suffered minor injuries in an accident, the insurance company could assign a multiplier of two, meaning that you would receive $100,000 for pain and suffering if your other damages totaled $50,000.
If your injury was more severe, the multiplier for your insurance claim might be higher. A multiplier of five or six might be possible if you suffered serious injuries. Your medical bill will be more, thus increasing your multiplied amount.
The adjuster that the insurance company hires will need proof of your pain and suffering to use a multiplier to estimate your injuries.
Calculating Pain and Suffering Compensation with the Per Diem Method
Another way to calculate pain and suffering costs is using the per diem method. It is when an insurer or jury calculates a certain amount of pain that they believe an accident victim has suffered daily.
They will give you an amount each day for what they believe you have experienced in pain until you have recovered from your injuries. It does not work well for all types of injuries and might not fairly compensate for future pain and suffering.
Proving Your Settlement Value or Jury Award for Maximum Compensation
With that in mind, here are some steps that you would take to prove your pain and suffering damages.
Numerous things can help you evidence your claim to the insurer or jury, such as -
- Testimony from doctors about the severe nature of your injuries
- Witness testimony as to what you experienced at the time of the accident
- Medical records that detail the extent of your injuries
- Your testimony as to what you experienced
Nearly every part of your medical records can be helpful for pain and suffering settlements or for a jury to decide the award amount of your financial compensation.
Non-Economic Damages Calculated on Past, Present, and Future Pain, Suffering, and Disability
Another important note when considering pain and suffering valuation is that it does not just apply to the moment you were injured. Pain and suffering are lifelong concepts. You can receive damages for your trauma after the accident and for your discomfort in the past, present, and future.
Expert testimony is required to show your future suffering unless there are severe injuries, such as when a plaintiff's legs have been crushed. A generic multiplier will not be applied, and your pain and suffering will be factored into your damages.
For example, your discomfort could have been more significant than the average person's because your car accident injuries aggravated a prior arthritic condition.
Your personal injury attorney will need to be able to demonstrate the severity of your injuries and the impact that they have had on your life.
Types of Damages in a Personal Injury Claim
Some things that you can take into consideration that might increase the value of your pain and suffering injury claim:
- Mental distress accompanying your physical injury
- Insomnia or loss of sleep from the pain
- Humiliation or embarrassment from your injuries (mental anguish)
- Disfigurements such as scarring or physical deformity
- Future physical pain and suffering
- Permanent injury
Examples of Jury Awards for Pain and Suffering Damages
- $5,000,000 plaintiff verdict - Cook County, IL
- $197,000 plaintiff verdict - Kankakee County, IL
- $105,000 plaintiff verdict - Cook County, IL
FAQs About the Monetary Value of Your Pain and Suffering
Our personal injury lawyers understand that injury accidents and malpractice victims have unanswered questions. A lawyer from our legal team has answered the below-mentioned questions.
Contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC at (888) 424-5757 or complete the contact form for a free consultation.
How much should you receive for pain and suffering in a car accident?
It is impossible to give you a concrete number without knowing the specifics of your case. Some minor injuries could result in lower awards, whereas serious injuries can lead to pain and suffering awards in the millions.
Although every case is unique, we can guarantee that we will pursue the maximum financial recovery on your behalf.
How do you prove pain and suffering?
It depends on the complexity of your case. If your claim is minor, medical documentation for diagnosis and bills may be enough to show the insurance company what you should be paid.
More complex cases may mean you must file a lawsuit and have medical experts testify about what you or a loved one endured in the car accident.
Can I receive a personal injury settlement without a lawyer?
You may get some pain and suffering settlement without legal representation, but the chances of you receiving your claim's fair value are slim.
The insurance company will not make their best offer first, and without a lawyer, you may have no way of knowing how much your claim is worth. Moreover, you may not be experienced in negotiating with the insurance provider.
An experienced personal injury lawyer understands the law's fine print and has the experience and expertise to negotiate a maximum settlement for clients.
Is emotional distress the same as pain and suffering damage?
Emotional distress is considered non-economic damages you've endured due to a loss. Unlike pain and suffering, emotional distress can impact an individual who was not directly involved in an accident.
Under Illinois law, compensation for emotional suffering can be recovered by victims without physical injury. Examples of emotional pain include diminished quality of life, inability to partake in activities, loss of sleep, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and loss of relationships.
The toll of emotional suffering is different for each victim. Someone who is very active and has lost the use of their legs will endure more emotional trauma than someone that has always been inactive.
Pain and suffering compensation is a part of a personal injury claim.
How much money can you sue for with pain and suffering damages?
The concept of pain and suffering damages is based on the idea that when a person has been wronged, they should be compensated for the difficulty, anguish, or inconvenience caused.
Pain and suffering damages are awarded in medical malpractice, car accidents, and other personal injury cases to cover non-monetary losses or non-economic damages.
For instance, a person may have sustained significant physical injuries, such as a broken leg or arm. Here, the court would consider any medical bills incurred and any psychological distress and physical suffering caused by the incident.
The jury would then calculate an appropriate sum of money on top of these costs to compensate for the pain and suffering endured by the individual. The amount of money awarded for pain and suffering damages must be fair, reasonable, and proportionate to the actual losses sustained by the claimant.
What factors determine the value of pain and suffering in personal injury lawsuits?
Lawyers use a pain and suffering calculator to determine the value of a personal injury claim. These calculators estimate the amount that could be awarded for the plaintiff's pain and suffering damages, depending on factors, including -
- Medical expenses
- Future care costs
- Psychological trauma
- Physical suffering and ongoing pain
- Future medical treatment
- Emotional trauma related long term and immediate pain
- Bodily injury
- Spine and head trauma
- Back and neck pain
- Permanent disability
- Mental trauma and anguish
- Loss of quality of life
- Funeral and burial costs in a wrongful death case
An experienced attorney also needs to determine liability for the incident in question. After establishing negligence, they must calculate economic damages - such as medical bills, lost wages, or property repair costs, directly caused by the injury or illness.
How can I be compensated if the pain and suffering claim involves a hit-and-run driver in an auto accident?
It can be challenging to receive compensation for pain, suffering, and emotional trauma after an auto accident involving a hit-and-run driver. However, in some cases, it may still be possible under certain circumstances.
If the law cannot identify the potential party, your options are more limited because there is no defendant's insurance company. Although, you may be able to submit a claim through your own car insurance policy as part of your uninsured motorist coverage - assuming that you have purchased such a type of policy.
The policy will allow you to receive compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, mental anguish, and other losses sustained due to the accident without identifying the responsible party.
Illinois Injury Lawyers Maximizing the Value of Your Personal Injury Claim
If you suffered injuries in a car accident, a fall accident, medical malpractice, or any other injury, we could help you recover compensation to pay for all your damages and loss.
Call our experienced accident injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free) or use the contact form for a free case evaluation and legal counsel to recover damages.
Contingency Fee Agreement
Our attorneys accept all serious injury claims and wrongful death cases on a contingency fee agreement. The arrangement immediately ensures our clients have legal representation without paying any upfront out-of-pocket expenses.
Our law firm advances all expenses in resolving an accident or malpractice claims and gets paid only when negotiating a settlement or winning a jury trial award. Our "No-Win/No-Fee" Guarantee is simple: We do not get paid if you do not win!
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