Illinois Car Accident Attorney Answers Questions About Damages in Auto Accident Cases

If you were a victim of a severe car accident and sustained serious, long-lasting, and painful personal injuries, the chances are high that you will want the person who hurt you to pay. The feeling is natural. You want the other person to pay, that is to be punished. You want retribution, but also, you want to be made whole. Those feelings are perfectly rational. 

During our first meeting with our new client, we always field questions about how much we think a case is worth. Many variables are in play when discussing the monetary value of a case. Fortunately, we have a significant amount of experience to draw upon to help us figure out the number of damages you might win in the end.  

There are four general categories of damages for which Illinois allows a victim of negligence to recover. The four categories are medical bills, future medical payments or obligations, lost wages, and loss of future income. Those four categories of damages can provide an estimate about the special, or economic damages, you can claim in your case. These are known as actual damages. 

Illinois law recognizes compensatory damages as well. Compensatory damages are difficult to quantify with any certainty. Compensatory damages like pain, suffering, and emotional distress are hard to categorize because the injury is so personal. There could be an objective amount of damage like bills from visiting a therapist, but those bills do not explain how you cannot sleep at night because you are in that much pain, the mental anguish you feel because you can no longer pick up your child, or how you regard your life as less meaningful after your accident.

There is one additional category of damages that typically do not arise in the average negligence case but are important to learn about just in case your claim falls into this limited category. Punitive damages, also called exemplary damages, as the name implies, are designed as punishment. They are intended to hurt the defendant. They are not available for a “straight negligence” claim, but you might be eligible if the other driver was intoxicated or drove recklessly.


Stein & Shulman, LLC has over 45 years of combined experienced in Illinois Personal Injury Law. You can receive a free and instant case review by calling our office at 312.422.0500.

Stein & Shulman, LLC
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Chicago, IL 60602
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