After a car accident in Chicago, a person might recover damages for their losses. This compensation is available for all the expenses and harms an individual suffered as a direct result of the collision. Recoverable damages fall into three categories: economic, non-economic, and punitive.
Economic damages are tangible losses with a monetary value. This category can be further divided into direct and consequential economic losses. Direct economic losses include the costs of replacement property, such as vehicles, and out-of-pocket medical expenses. Consequential economic losses include indirect losses, such as lost wages or lost opportunities due to a disability.
Calculating some economic damages, such as medical expenses, is fairly straightforward. An attorney could compile all of the individual’s medical bills and property damage bills and come up with a figure. It can be more difficult to calculate consequential damages. When estimating lost wages or lost future earning capacity, an attorney may rely on the services of an expert, such as an accountant.
Non-economic damages refer to more subjective, non-monetary costs of an accident that are difficult to define. They include physical pain, emotional pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, loss of consortium, and loss of society.
The plaintiff’s counsel estimates non-economic damages. They work to help the insurance company understand the full impact and extent of the victim’s injuries. The calculation of non-economic damages is based on the medical bills and lifestyle changes caused by the accident.
However, that amount is not necessarily what the insurance company or the defendant will pay. For example, the insurance companies sometimes argue about the medical bills the plaintiff’s attorney uses to demonstrate their pain and suffering. The car accident lawyer may use an emergency bill for $2,500 as an indicator of the victim’s pain and suffering. The insurance company may try to argue that because medicare only paid $500, the injury had a less significant impact on the victim’s life.
That is another reason why it is important to have an attorney who can develop and help calculate the damages. The analysis can be complicated, and insurance adjusters are skilled at reducing the amount they have to pay.
In some cases, a jury may award punitive damages to punishes the defendant and discourages others from engaging in similar conduct. Juries may consider a number of factors, including the following:
- Reprehensible conduct by the defendant
- Duration and frequency of the misconduct
- Facts and circumstances surrounding the defendant’s conduct
- Attempt to conceal the behavior
- Financial vulnerability of the plaintiff
The jury identifies the defendant’s net worth and decides the amount of money needed to punish them and calculate a sufficient amount to discourage similar behavior in the future.
Seek Help Recovering Your Damages from a Chicago Attorney
If you were hurt in a car accident through no fault of your own, you should not be burdened with medical bills and lost wages. The legal system in Chicago and throughout the state provides a way for you to recover damages, or compensation, for all the losses you sustained in the car accident. For help with your case, contact an experienced car accident attorney and schedule a consultation.