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Car accident injury: How are damages determined in a civil claim?

After suffering injuries in a car accident, the lives of victims in Illinois and elsewhere may be changed forever. While some injuries may heal, the impact it can have on the lives of the victims and their families may be devastating. Medical expenses and property damage can be documented, but affected individuals may have questions about the methods used to quantify pain and suffering and other non-economic damages caused by a car accident.

Damages are classified in different categories; special damages are usually the easiest to understand. Such damages are those in which the dollar amounts are documented on bills for medical expenses, property damage and damage to a vehicle that was wrecked. Lost income is also classified as special damages, and it relates to money lost in wages due to hospitalization and recuperation.

Another type is classified as general damages and could be much more complicated because it refers to non-economic damages. Quantifying the dollar value of years of pain and suffering is almost impossible, and it is often dependent on the jury's opinion; furthermore, general damages are often capped at different levels by different jurisdictions. Other damages that will fall under this type include mental anguish, disfigurement and physical impairment. Those whose injuries deny them participating in activities they enjoyed prior to their injuries may claim loss of life enjoyment. Loss of consortium relates to the inability to have sexual relations, and, in some cases, the failure to bear a child after suffering injuries.

An Illinois resident who has suffered severe injuries in a car accident may benefit from retaining the services of an experienced personal injury attorney. Each case is different and can bring about unique challenges to victims that are not always quantifiable. To determine the damages that may form a viable claim, an attorney who focuses on protecting the rights of car accident victims will assess the circumstances and suggest the optional ways to proceed in pursuing fair compensation.

Source:, "Types of Damages In Negligence Cases", June 5, 2015

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