How much is your pain and suffering worth?

On Behalf of The Law Offices of Goldfine & Bowles, P.C.

April 22, 2020

When you sustain injuries due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, such as in a car crash that someone else caused, you can sue that person for personal injury. FindLaw explains that if you prevail in your lawsuit, the judge or jury will award you both economic and noneconomic damages. Pain and suffering represents one of your noneconomic damages.

In Illinois, your economic, a/k/a special, damages consist of your medical bills and other out-of-pocket expenses to which you can attach a precise amount. Conversely, your noneconomic, a/k/a general, damages consist of those things, including your pain and suffering, to which neither you nor anyone else can attach a precise amount. Consequently, the judge or jury will determine how much your pain and suffering is worth.


Given that pain and suffering not only includes both physical and mental/emotional pain, but also is subjective to you, the judge and jury will take a number of factors, including the following, into consideration before attaching a value:

  • What type of injury or injuries did you sustain?
  • How much, if any, disfigurement did they cause you?
  • How much, if any, impairment have they caused you in terms of your ability to perform your normal activities and functions?
  • How much, if any, aggravation did they cause to your preexisting condition(s)?
  • How much physical and mental pain have you already suffered?
  • How much physical and mental pain will you likely suffer in the future?

Possible limits

Fortunately for you, Illinois does not limit the amount the judge or jury can award you for your pain and suffering, with two exceptions. You can receive no more than $100,000 if your injuries stem from an accident involving a state-owned vehicle. Illinois also has a modified comparative negligence law that allows the judge or jury to award you no damages at all if they determine that you were more than 50% responsible for the accident that caused your injuries.