Car accidents are costly, stressful, and painful. Even a minor fender bender can leave with medical bills, lost income, property damage, and emotional damages that you don’t know how to handle. However, if you weren’t fully responsible for the car crash, you may recover financial compensation for your damages.
In this article, we’ll cover which damages you can recover from a car accident.
What Are Damages in a Car Accident?
Damages refer to the financial compensation you can recover after being injured or sustaining property damage from the negligence of another person or party. Damages are typically in monetary form. The person or party who was at fault for the car crash compensates the injured person for their losses via these damages.
To seek compensation for damages, you must file an insurance claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Types of damages you can collect for a car accident in Chicago:
Medical Expenses from Treating Your Injuries
Any medical costs you incur because of the injuries caused by the accident are valid damages you can claim. These may include:
- Medical bills from treatment costs, hospitalization, tests, and doctor visits,
- Prescription medications,
- Rehabilitation or physical therapy,
- Ambulance costs,
- In-home services, and
- Permanent disability.
It’s crucial to seek medical treatment as soon as possible after an auto accident. If you wait too long, it may seem as if your injuries aren’t that serious and didn’t need medical care. The insurance company might use this to dispute or deny your personal injury claim.
Further, if your doctor thinks you may need further treatment past the date you file your injury claim, you must also account for these expenses, too. An experienced Chicago car accident lawyer can help you do that.
Lost Income from Missing Work
Often, car accident injuries force you to miss work while receiving medical care. This can be stressful because you’re missing out on income and worrying about increasing expenses from the accident. Fortunately, lost wages is another damage you can recover after an auto accident.
Also, lost wages account for any missed career advancement opportunities or bonuses. Further, you may recover loss of earning capacity, especially if your injuries hinder you from earning future wages as you did in the past.
To prove lost income damages, you must provide any pay stubs from recent past paycheck and evidence of any missed opportunities and bonuses. An experienced personal injury lawyer at CCAL can help you prove your lost income, missed opportunities, and bonuses.
Property and Car Damages
After a motor vehicle crash, chances are that you suffered damage to your vehicle during the crash. If you need to repair or even replace your vehicle, those expenses are damages you can recover from the at-fault driver and their insurance company. You can prove vehicle damage through:
- Photos of the crash scene,
- Photographs of your damaged car,
- Witnesses statements,
- And bills and receipts from the repair shop.
Often, property damage claims are handled separately from personal injury claims, however, you’ll still be seeking financial compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company. You may claim the expenses of repairing your vehicle or the fair market value of your vehicle--you can get estimates through sources, such as Kelley Blue Book if you need to replace your car, or for the vehicle’s diminished value after being repaired following the accident.
These damages also include other property damage, too. For instance, if any of your personal possession was damaged during the crash, you may claim them for compensation, as well.
General Damages, such as Pain and Suffering Damages
Medical expenses, property damage, and lost income are all economic damages, which are easy to prove and calculate. On the other hand, pain and suffering damages are noneconomic damages, which don’t have a clear dollar amount and are much more complex to prove and calculate.
Pain and suffering is the physical or mental anguish you experience because of your car accident injuries. The amount of compensation you can recover for pain and suffering largely depends on the severity of your physical injuries, and how the injuries have affected your quality of life.
Pain and suffering damages may include:
- Costs of therapy for issues, such as anxiety and depression,
- A general loss of enjoyment of life,
- And any other ways your physical injuries have negatively affected your life.
The compensation for pain and suffering you can recover depends on your state. In Illinois, there’s no cap on the amount of damages you can collect for pain and suffering. Further, winning damages for pain and suffering can significantly increase your compensation.
Wrongful Death Damages
If a loved one is killed in a car crash, you may seek wrongful death damages. These may include:
- Medical expenses,
- Funeral expenses,
- Loss of companionship or consortium,
- Loss of enjoyment of life they suffered,
- Pain and suffering they experienced before their death.
A personal injury attorney can help you calculate these damages if you’re eligible to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the decedent.
How Much Should I Ask for Pain and Suffering from a Car Accident in Chicago?
There’s a popular misconception that pain and suffering is simply a random dollar amount set forth to get rich. Although there’s no set formula in Illinois for personal injury claims for determining how much you should ask for, there are different methods that your personal injury attorney, the jury, or the insurance company may use to assign a value to your pain and suffering claim.
Since it’s hard to assign a specific value to pain and suffering, a multiplier is used to estimate the value of your claim. Depending on the severity of your injuries, a factor between one and five will be assigned, with one being for the least serious injuries and five being for the most severe injuries. The factor is then multiplied by the total value of your economic losses.
For instance, if you suffered a compound fracture in your leg in a car accident. If you spent $20,0000 on medical treatment and physical therapy and you lost $2,500 in income as a result, then your total economic losses are $22,500. Since you now walk with a permanent limp, let assign a factor of 4 to your injuries. You would then calculate your claim for pain and suffering as follows:
$20,000 in medical expenses + $2,500 in lost income = $22,500 in economic losses.
$22500 x 4 = $90,000.
Thus, in this case, ask for $90,000 for pain and suffering. Note, this is just an example--the calculation will vary with each case.
In other cases, it’s a good idea to determine the value of your pain and suffering on a daily basis. Here, your auto accident attorney will assign a per diem estimate of your pain and suffering and then multiply it by the number of days you have been suffering because of your injuries. Thus, it’s essential to consult a car accident attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can review the facts of your claim, value your claim, and negotiate with the insurance company to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
What is the Average Settlement for a Minor Car Accident?
It’s difficult to find an average motor vehicle accident settlement that matches your specific case because each car accident claim is unique. Settlement amounts differ significantly because of the specific nature of damages. Some estimates put the average auto accident settlement for a minor to a moderate accident at $20,0000 to $30,000. Severe car accidents could be worth much more depending on circumstances. Some car accident victims in Illinois have received six- and seven-figure settlements for their car crash damages.
Because every car accident is unique, don’t gauge your car accident claim’s value based on averages alone. Even though your car accident was a minor fender bender, your claim’s outcome could differ significantly from other cases--even within the same type of accident. Instead of judging the value of your car accident claim according to other case outcomes, consult with an experienced Illinois car accident lawyer for a customized estimate. Only an experienced auto accident lawyer can accurately determine what your car accident settlement could be worth after an in-depth review of the facts of your case.
Contact Our Chicago Car Accident Lawyer Today for Legal Advice!
In Illinois, the time limit or the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the date the car crash occurs. Once this time lapses, you’re no longer eligible to seek compensation for your damages. Thus, after sustaining injuries or suffering property damage in a car accident, you must seek legal help as soon as possible.
For legal help and representation tailored to your unique needs as a car accident victim in Chicago, Illinois, contact CCAL. Our team of knowledgeable Chicago car accident attorneys will determine the right legal strategy for you. You can count on our dedicated car accident lawyers to seek the maximum amount of damages to cover your medical bills, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. To schedule a free initial consultation, call us today at (312) 300-2515, or chat with us online to learn how we can help.
Our attorneys handle car accident claims throughout Illinois, including: