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Chicago personal injury lawyersA serious auto accident can leave a person with painful injuries and mounting debts. If you or a loved one were injured in a car crash, motorcycle accident, or truck accident, you know firsthand the financial devastation that an accident can bring to a person’s life. Fortunately, a personal injury lawsuit may allow you to recover financial compensation for the damages you suffered. Compensation for monetary losses as well as the non-monetary harm caused in the accident may be available. The amount of financial compensation that you could recover depends on several different factors.

The Severity of Your Injuries and Your Prognosis

Medical expenses and lost income from missed work are often two of the largest expenses a car accident victim suffers. Typically, the worse your injuries, the greater your medical costs. Injuries that lead to long-term or permanent impairment often lead to greater personal injury payouts. If your injuries reduce your ability to work, you may be entitled to compensation for the harm to your earning potential.

The amount of compensation you could receive for your pain and suffering is also directly linked to the severity of your injuries. In many personal injury cases, the compensation an injured person receives for non-economic damages is determined by multiplying financial damages by a factor of 1.5 to 5. For example, if your medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage totaled $30,000, you may recover $45,000 – 150,000 for non-economic damages like pain and suffering.

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Chicago personal injury lawyerThe actions motorists take can often contribute to the severity of their injuries in the event of a collision. Refusing to wear a seat belt is a classic example. At Livas Law Group, a Division of Kralovec, Jambois & Schwartz, we routinely field questions about whether the refusal to wear a seat belt will harm a person’s personal injury lawsuit. In particular, accident victims want to know whether the seat belt defense is valid in Illinois.

Why the Seat Belt Defense Matters

Illinois recognizes the concept of comparative fault. Under this concept, a motorist cannot receive compensation if he or she is “more” at fault for an accident than all defendants combined. Put simply, a victim can be up to 50 percent responsible for their injuries—but not more—to collect compensation.

Failure to wear a seat belt probably sounds like a form of negligence. After all, seat belts have been proven to reduce the risk of injury and save lives. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), wearing a seat belt reduces the number of serious injuries by approximately 50 percent. In one year alone (2016), seat belts saved approximately 15,000 lives. Furthermore, wearing a seat belt is the law in our state. Everyone ages 8 or older must buckle up, even if the car is equipped with airbags.

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