Liability claims may be filed in Cook County civil courts for injuries and deaths caused by motor vehicle crashes. Personal injury lawsuits are brought by victims whose car accident injuries are due to a defendant's negligent, reckless or intentional actions. Wrongful death claims seek compensation for surviving family members' losses when a victim dies.
Every liability lawsuit makes claims for specific damages. Each state defines what damages are permissible with each type of civil action.
A plaintiff – the suing party – may ask for a damage award to cover accident-related medical expenses. The costs may be limited to past treatment, surgeries, therapy or other services or include anticipated expenses in the future.
For instance, a car crash victim who suffered a disability may require long-term or lifetime treatment. The court considers costs the plaintiff might incur, as well as health care provided before the trial.
Wage losses go hand-in-hand with medical bills. A victim's injuries often prevent a return to work. The pay loss is compounded when an injury diminishes the plaintiff's future earning capacity or a disability prevents the victim from returning to work at all.
Plaintiffs may allege an injury caused pain and suffering, a claim that is considered separately from medical costs. The claim may encompass physical, mental or emotional trauma suffered as a result of an injury. State laws vary on what pain and suffering means and when it applies in liability cases.
In some accident claims, victims' spouses or other family members may request damages for loss of companionship, sometimes called loss of consortium, affection, support, guidance or services an injured party once provided. Compensation for loss of consortium in personal injury cases is contingent upon an award for the plaintiff's claims.
Once a case assessment has been made, an attorney can state which claims are valid. The plaintiff is responsible for proving claims are true.
Source: FindLaw.com, "What Kinds of Damages May I Claim for Car Accident Injuries?" accessed Feb. 06, 2015