Pain And Suffering Damages In A Personal Injury Case
If you’ve been injured in an accident that was caused by another’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct, then the law may entitle you to damages. The losses can be quite varied in a personal injury dispute, but they are very likely to include pain and suffering damages.
Many first-time plaintiffs do not fully understand what pain and suffering damages are, the unique challenges associated with pain and suffering damages, and how best to maximize these damages.
Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, our staff are standing by to connect you to a qualified attorney who can help you move forward with your case. An experienced personal injury lawyer can evaluate the case comprehensively, and determine an effective strategy for securing the maximum possible damages (including pain and suffering damages).
Let’s take a closer look.
Understanding the Damage Categories
In the personal injury context, compensatory damages for a lawsuit can be split into two relatively broad categories: 1) monetary losses and 2) non-monetary losses.
Monetary losses account for those damages that are financial in nature. They include, but are not necessarily limited to:
- Medical expenses
- Wage loss
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property loss
- and more
Non-monetary losses account for those damages that are not directly tied to your finances. In general, non-monetary losses involve problems with your quality of life — whether that occurred for a brief period, or is now a lifelong issue. They include, but are not necessarily limited to:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of guidance
- and more
Pain and suffering fits into non-monetary losses, and as such, can be somewhat more difficult to “prove” to the court. If you claim $100,000 in pain and suffering damages, for example, you will have to introduce expert testimony and other evidence — and be persuasive in your legal arguments — that show your losses should qualify you for a $100,000 pain and suffering recovery.
It’s worth noting that damages are meant to “compensate” the injured plaintiff by putting them in a position where they would have been had they not been involved in an accident.
In the pain and suffering context (non-monetary), there is really no way to measure — with perfect accuracy — what amount of damages would put you in a position where you would feel fully compensated for the losses suffered. As such, success will often be determined by your attorney’s ability to argue the issue persuasively.
Pain And Suffering Basics
Pain and suffering represents a number of different, related losses. Boiling it down into its simplest components, pain and suffering damages are meant to compensate you — the injured plaintiff — for the physical and mental harm that you sustained due to the accident.
Pain and suffering damages can include everything from the physical pain you experienced after a car accident, to the mental pain you experienced due to feeling humiliated and embarrassed by your post-accident disabilities.
Calculating Pain And Suffering Damages
Perhaps the biggest challenge in claiming pain and suffering damages is evidentiary. In other words, you’ll have to “calculate” a reasonable damages amount based off your physical, mental, and emotional suffering.
This is ultimately a fact-based, subjective endeavor, making it quite difficult to arrive at a number that the defendant is likely to accept.
To get around this conflict, most attorneys ultimately rely on a “multiplier” methodology for calculating pain and suffering damages.
Put simply, the pain and suffering damages are “estimated” at roughly 1-to-3 times the monetary losses. How high the multiplier goes depends on the particularities of your case. If your case involves significant physical, mental, or emotional suffering, then the multiplier is likely to be higher (i.e., up to 3 times the monetary losses).
So, for example, if your monetary losses (i.e., wage loss, property loss, medical expenses, etc.) add up to $100,000, and you were horribly disfigured by your injuries and are unable to engage in any recreational activities, then the physical, mental, and emotional trauma might give rise to a $300,000 pain and suffering claim, for a $400,000 total damages claim.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in our Network for a Free Consultation
Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, we operate a large network of qualified, skilled personal injury attorneys who are standing by to provide legal assistance. Call us to get connected to an experienced personal injury lawyer in our network — during this initial discussion, they will evaluate your case and provide guidance on how best to proceed.
We believe that friendly, accessible legal representation is critical to success. As such, our staff are available 24/7 (in both English and Spanish) to take your call. Consultation is free and confidential, so don’t hesitate to contact us as soon as possible to get started with the process.
We look forward to speaking with you further!