If you have been injured by someone who neglected the duty of care they owed to you, you may be considering filing a personal injury claim. The negligent party might be a driver, healthcare provider, or even the manufacturer of a dangerous product. The amount of money or insurance coverage available may be significant or small. Whatever the case, you might be wondering how much your claim is worth and how to maximize compensation.
The value of a personal injury claim varies based on factors including the cost of medical treatment, the severity of injuries and their permanence, the emotional toll you've experienced, and the amount of time you've missed at work. Although there are common constructs about every personal injury case, each one is unique.
At Marker & Crannell, we approach each personal injury claim as if it is our only one, but not our first. We've represented hundreds of clients over the years, helping them document the value of their damages exacted by personal injury and wrongful death. If you were injured in Naperville, Illinois, or its neighboring cities and towns, we may be able to help you, too.
What Can I Recover in A Personal Injury Claim?
Compensatory damages in Illinois personal injury claims include “special” and “general” damages. Compensation from the party responsible for your injuries is intended to make you “whole” again after you have suffered losses due to injury.
Special damages are the economic losses you have suffered. Special damages include the cost of medical treatment, income lost as the result of your inability to work, and property damage.
General damages are non-economic losses, which makes them more challenging to attach a dollar amount to. These include damages such as pain and suffering, future medical treatment or lost income, loss of consortium, loss of enjoyment, and permanent disfigurement.
If the actions of the negligent party were particularly reckless or intentional, a jury could also award punitive damages. These are designed to punish those at fault by forcing them to pay a large sum of money to discourage similar acts in the future.
What Factors Determine My Case Value?
Many factors determine the value of your case. These four are most prevalent:
The extent or total value of the damages you have sustained and the cost to make you whole again
The percentage of fault assigned to the negligent party
The amount of insurance coverage available under the negligent party's liability policies
The disabling nature and permanency of your injuries
What Is Comparative Fault?
Illinois observes the comparative fault theory in personal injury cases. This means that more than one person can share fault for the incident that led to injuries. If you are assigned a percentage of fault, your settlement or jury award would be reduced by your share of fault. If you are assigned more than 50% of fault, you are barred from pursuing a claim at all.
Say you are driving through an intersection while using your cell phone. The other driver ignores a red light and T-bones your car. There is a shared fault here assuming that had you not been using your phone, you might have avoided being hit. If the other driver is held 70% responsible and you are held 30% responsible, your settlement would be reduced by your 30% share of fault.
What Can I Do to Increase My Case Value?
There are measures you can take that may increase the value of your case:
You can hire a personal injury lawyer to represent you. They will know how to document your damages, establish fault, negotiate with insurance companies, and present your case to a jury should you be unable to settle a claim outside of court.
You should always seek medical treatment, even if you are not sure you are injured. Some injuries are not immediately apparent. It is important to your claim to have documentation by a medical provider of injuries right after an incident. Without it, insurers will deny that injuries that appear subsequently are related to the incident.
You should never accept the initial offer proffered by an insurance company for two reasons. First, insurers will place the lowest value possible on your claim to avoid paying what it is worth. Second, you need to allow time to reach the maximum recovery possible from your injuries so you can include all medical expenses, wage losses, and other damages in your claim.
You should gather evidence and document everything related to your claim. Evidence would include items such as the crash or incident report, medical records, witness statements, and payroll information. You should also write down your recollection of the incident right away and continue journaling relevant information.
Personal Injury Experience You Can Trust
Personal injury lawyers with years of experience representing hundreds of cases know how to gather evidence, document your claim, and assign value to your damages. Our clients in Naperville, Illinois, and in Wheaton, Bolingbrook, Joliet, Aurora, Plainfield, Romeoville, Woodridge, and Lisle, have counted on Marker & Crannell to calculate the real value of their claims and relentlessly pursue appropriate compensation for their damages.
Consultations are free, and clients pay us nothing until they receive a settlement or jury award. You have everything to gain and nothing to risk, so call today to schedule your case review.