How much is my personal injury settlement worth?
A Guide to filing Personal Injury Claims & Estimating Settlement Values in IL
Accidents or mishaps are commonplace and injuries sustained in an accident can have far- reaching effects on your life emotionally, physically and financially. When an accident occurs resulting in personal injury, the injured person can experience pain, fear and confusion. If your injury is caused by the negligence of another person, you can take legal action against that person.
Personal injury law, known also as tort law, allows an injured person to seek help in a civil court by suing the other party for the damages caused by the accident. The Personal injury system serves to provide the victim with financial compensation after suffering harm brought on by the accident due to the carelessness or intentional conduct of someone else.
What are the basics of Personal Injury Law?
There is a wide range of circumstances where personal injury regulations apply:
- Accidents: The personal injury rules apply in situations where an individual causes harm to another person through negligence or carelessness. This include slip and falls, car accidents, medical malpractice or other types of cases.
- Intentional Acts: Personal injury rules apply in situations where a respondent’s intentional action results in harm to another person. This include assault and battery, and other intentional injuries.
- Defective Products: Although the injuries caused by defective products are not considered negligent or intentional actions, the victim can still file an injury claim for damages.
- Defamation: Personal injury laws apply when defamatory statements from one individual cause harm to another individual’s reputation.
An accident can lead to injuries and injuries can affect your life dramatically. If your injury is due to the negligence of another person, you may be wondering how to maximize on the compensation you will receive for the losses you experienced.
What are your rights if you suffer an injury in an accident when you’re not at fault? How do you make a claim in a court of law? What are your chances of getting the maximum amount in monetary value in your personal injury settlement?
In this article, you can find information on how you can settle a personal injury claim to your advantage.
Disclaimer: This is not legal advice. The information found here is solely for instructional purposes. Consult a lawyer for financial and legal evaluation of your case.
How to Calculate Your Injury Claim Settlement
Pain and Suffering: This legal term applies to numerous injuries that a complainant may suffer because of an accident. It covers physical pain, mental and emotional injuries such as grief, fear, anxiety, insomnia, inconvenience and loss of enjoyment for life.
The pain and suffering calculator uses an accurate formula that provides you with the maximum settlement against the party at fault. Here is how it works: pain and suffering multiplied by medical expenses plus loss of income = injury settlement.
Here is a breakdown of the settlement’s formula:
- Medical Expenses: This includes surgery, prescription drugs, wheelchairs, walkers, x-rays, hospital visits, walkers, chiropractic, lab tests, orthopedic care, ambulances and any other medical treatment.
- Loss of Income: Add all the money you lost due to your injury, which prevented you from working. Include likely opportunities you missed such as an interview for a job or freelance work.
- Pain and Suffering Multiplier’s normal range is usually 1.5 – 5, and takes into account your inconveniences and emotional distress.
Example of how the settlement calculator works
Let us say that your medical expenses for a minor personal injury was $36,000.00 and you loss $1000 in salary for a week’s absence from work:
- Amount of claims = $36,000 + 1000 x (1.5-5 %). Your claim could fall in the range of $55,500 -$277,500
- For a more serious and debilitating injury, your claim amount = $160,000 + 10,000 x (5-10%) could fall in the range of $850,000.00- $8,500,000.000,
Pain and suffering period can be either current or future. Current relates to the time you were injured up to the time your medical treatment was completed. Whereas, future period is more extensive because a literal time is unspecified.
If your injury resulted in physical and emotional pain and distress such as anxiety, depression, stress, insomnia, memory loss or anxiety, then you can use the settlement calculator stated above. On the other hand, if your injuries are of a tragic nature such as permanent disability, wrongful death, devastating brain injury or any other serious injury, you will need the services of an experienced attorney instead of a settlement calculator.
In cases where injuries are of a tragic nature, you should contact a personal injury lawyer, who is better able to determine the value of your case and calculate the best insurance settlement. Although you can calculate your settlement by yourself, hiring an experienced lawyer would be more beneficial to you. A lawyer can help you get the highest settlement possible for any serious injury you suffered.
Insurance companies use a settlement calculator to determine the level of compensation you will get for your medical expenses. For example, devastating pain and suffering, emotional distress like mental anguish and loss of income relating to your car accident case, or another accident claim.
Bear in mind that insurance companies will do everything that is possible to reduce your settlement. Because they are profit oriented, they are not willing to offer a fair settlement that will compensate for the intense pain and suffering you have suffered. Therefore, you need a lawyer who will provide you with the best representation.
Different Types of Injuries
The list below indicates the types of injuries that attract claims for insurance settlements:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Wrongful death
- Slip and falls
- Medical malpractice cases
- Nursing home abuse
- Hit by drunk driver
- Dog bite attacks
- Injury sustained at work
- Other types of serious injuries
How Personal Injury Settlements are awarded
When your claims take place in a court hearing usually both the judge and jury will examine all medical bills to decide on the amount payable for general damages.
If the claim involves a motor vehicle, then the car insurance company is responsible for paying the damages. Be aware though that is such a case, you will need to hire a competent car accident lawyer.
If your injury occurred on the job, a workers’ compensation claim does not cover pain and suffering damages. Workers’ compensation would cover the costs for lost income and medical treatment to the injury victims. Consequently, personal injury settlements are usually higher than settlements for work injuries.
How to calculate Your Settlement
The following must be included when calculating the value of a personal injury claim:
- Medical fee, therapy, prescription receipts and possible medical expenses
- Out-of-pocket payments such as costs for car rental.
- Lost incomes both current and future
- Damage to property (your car or truck)
The multiplier range is a method that insurance companies use to determine your personal injury court case. The settlement calculator cannot specify the exact amount you would receive for your accident claim. On the other hand, the pain and suffering calculator provides an estimate and a range that your injury claim will fall in.
While the injury settlement calculator increases your pain and suffering anywhere between 1 to 5 times, and sometimes higher in severe injury cases, the multiplier can be tweaked up or down. This tweaking is dependent however, on the gravity of your injury and the time-frame in which your discomfort lasts.
How The Multiplier Method works
Since it is difficult to give an exact value to pain and suffering, a multiplier is used to give a rough calculation of the worth of your claim. A factor between 1 and 5 is applied depending on the seriousness of your injury, with 1 for the least serious injury and 5 for the most serious.
For example, if you suffered a compound fracture in your leg in a car accident and the treatment, physical therapy cost was $250,000.00, and your income loss was $20,000.00, your claim for pain and suffering would be as follows:
Medical expenses: $250,000 + $20,000 lost income= $270,000 economic loss. Pain and suffering claim could fall in the range of $1,350,000 – $13,500,000
It is highly possible that any type of motor vehicle accident will cause physical and emotional damage. The possible damage resulting from a truck accident can be extremely painful. The purpose of non-economic settlements is to pay damages to the victim for the pain and suffering they experienced due to the accident. Compensations are awarded also for the victim’s inability to enjoy life and participating in favorite past time activities due to the injuries.
Factors that can affect your Claim
- Traffic tickets can affect your claim. In addition, if the insurance company has reason to believe that you were somewhat responsible for the vehicle accident then you probably would get a car accident settlement that is of no value.
- If you were not responsible, you could get the largest settlement, but this is dependent on the negotiating skills of your lawyer.
If the accident was the fault of the driver who was driving under the influence, then that driver will need a criminal defense lawyer.
Things to factor into your Pain and Suffering claims
- Regular Activities
How has the injury affected your regular activities? Are you disabled? If yes, then most likely, you will be unable to do your household chores such as cooking, cleaning, taking care of the needs of your family- (spouse and children).
List carefully the ways your injury has affected your lifestyle, emotional health and the difficulties you have faced.
Create a pain log. Each day list the problems you encounter due to your injury. This will help you to keep track of your daily discomfort and help you take full advantage of your personal injury settlement.
Document every disruption the injury has caused in your life. What was your life like before the accident compared to the sufferings you experienced after the accident? Include everything; missed family milestones, such as birthday celebrations, anniversaries, graduations, lost time and other important activities.
- Emotional suffering
How did the injury affect your lifestyle? Did you experience depression or anxiety? It is easy to have feelings of hopelessness when your injury is not healing as fast as you want it to. Observe the changes the injury has caused in your lifestyle. This will help to build a strong personal injury case.
If you suffered emotional distress due to your injury and you had to seek additional treatment from a psychiatrist or psychologist, ensure that you secure your medical bills, and prescription receipts. These along with the records describing your emotional state will help to build a strong case for your personal injury claim.
While you log your problem, don’t overstate anything. Be honest and genuine, as this will give credibility to your case and affect your claim worth positively.
If you consistently log your actual costs as you continue to contend with pain and suffering, it definitely will increase your claim worth. At this point, an attorney can advocate effectively on your behalf on the drastic changes the injury had on your life. Hiring a lawyer is extremely important. Since it is not in your best interest to accept the first offer, your lawyer will advise you in negotiating your settlement. Just in case the courts award you a large settlement, you may be encouraged to seek financial advice. This financial advice will guide you in the best way to manage your settlement, inclusive of estate planning.
- Medical Malpractice
You will definitely need a lawyer if you want to pursue a medical malpractice case.
Here are some of the main types of medical malpractice:
- Surgical mistakes
- Prescription mistakes
The most common misdiagnosed health conditions are blood clots, heart attacks, tumors or infections. Misdiagnosis can hinder treatment and can be fatal as well. Therefore, you will need an experienced lawyer to help you get the most value out of your injury claim settlement.
How to file a personal complaint against the State of Illinois.
In Illinois, you can file a car accident settlement in the state’s civil court system if the offender is a private group/company. For example, if a reckless driver hits you or you slipped and fell in a store due to wet floor and spillage, then you can sue either party for damages.
However, if the reckless driver employed by the government hits you, or you slipped and fell in a government building that is a different ‘ball game’ entirely because the rules are different. The Illinois Court of Claims Act governs all claims filed against the Illinois state government.
The Illinois Court of Claims Act
The Court of Claims Act is found in Illinois Compiled Statutes Chapter 705 section 505. The Act not only creates the Court of Claims but also states the types of cases the Court of Claims will consider. These include an extensive range of cases against the state, such as cases for breach of contract, for time served unjustly in state prisons, for reviewing administrative rulings, and personal injury claims or related civil wrongs.
What the Illinois Law covers
In Illinois, anyone injured can file a claim against the state if the injury resulted from an agency of the state or a state employee, as would be the same, if the claim were brought against a company or private individual.
Let us look at a few examples:
- If a government employee hit you with a car while driving, you can file a claim under the Court of Claims Act, in the same way in which a private individual could bring a car accident lawsuit against another driver.
- Premises liability claims: These apply to unsafe conditions on government property that cause injuries and if the persons in charge of the property were aware of the problem.
- Medical negligence: These apply to workers at state clinics, hospitals, and similar facilities.
- Several other claims would include injuries resulting from carelessness, or the failure to use satisfactory care when carrying out a duty toward another. You can also file a claim against the state of Illinois under the Court of Claims Act.
The Court of Claims Act is broad based. This means that it covers the following: acts filed against the state government, acts filed against a variety of state agencies, departments, commissions, and public universities. For example, if your injury occurred on any property owned by the University of Illinois, the first step would be to file a notice with the Attorney General and the Clerk of Court of Claims, rather than filing a lawsuit in a regular district or circuit court.