When a car wreck is caused by someone else, the injured driver is entitled to recovery. The recovery is referred to as damages. The different types of damages after an Oak Lawn car accident include economic and non-economic damages. In some cases, punitive damages may be recovered. For more information about recovering damages from a car collision, contact a seasoned lawyer.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are easy to calculate and have documentary evidence to support the costs. Examples of economic damages include:

  • Medical bills
  • Property damage estimates
  • Lost wages

People should seek medical attention as soon as possible following their accident, not only for their health but medical documentation will serve as evidence for their claim. Lost wages also includes the income the person was unable to earn due to missed work and any future work they may have to miss.

Non-Economic Damages

While economic damages are damages with identifiable values, non-economic damages do not have a defined value. Non-economic damages may include physical pain, emotional suffering, scars or disfigurement, and temporary or permanent inability to enjoy the pleasurable aspects of life. In a wrongful death case, non-economic damages include the loss of companionship and grief caused by the death of a loved one. There is no precise formula for determining non-economic damages, which is why an injured person should seek a lawyer who is well-versed with all the types of damages after an Oak Lawn car accident

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are quite different than compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are meant to compensate an individual for what has been lost as the result of an accident. Compensatory damages include economic as well as non-economic awards. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are meant to punish the defendant for wrongdoing. Punitive damages are only available when the conduct of the defendant is willful and wanton or demonstrates a conscious disregard for the safety of others. Of the different types of damages after an Oak Lawn car accident, punitive damages are the rarest and only a small percentage of cases award punitive damages.

Auto Insurance Coverage

Under the law, the insurance company for the driver of the vehicle which caused the accident is responsible for all the damages resulting from the crash. This includes repairing or replacing their vehicle, economic damages such as medical bills and time lost from work, as well as non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. The injured individual’s own insurance company may pay for the damages, while they also go after the at-fault driver.

Calculating Awards

Unlike economic damages such as medical bills, property damage, and loss of wages, there is no formula to calculate non-economic damages. Items such as pain and suffering and disability are decided by a jury. In a jury trial, 12 citizens collectively decide the amount to award for non-economic damages. Jurors base their decision on common sense, life experience, and most importantly, the evidence presented in court. If a jury awards an extravagant amount for non-economic damages, the judge has the right to modify the jury’s award.

Damage Caps in Oak Lawn Car Accidents

In some states, there are laws which place caps on non-economic damages. The state legislature places a limit on the amount a jury can award for non-economic damages. Illinois does not have caps on non-economic damages. The legislature trusts in the discretion of the jury, with the safeguard of the judge, that a proper award for non-economic damages will result. While some verdicts for non-economic damages may seem excessive, often the true facts behind those verdicts are not publicized. Additionally, some people are so catastrophically injured that an arbitrary cap on non-economic damages is patently unfair. Caps on non-economic damages disproportionately disadvantage those without a long work history, such as young people, homemakers, and people who have a sporadic work history.

If someone else caused you to have a car wreck, it is only fair that they take responsibility for the crash. Call a dedicated lawyer today to learn more about different types of damages after an Oak Lawn car accident.