Understanding pain and suffering damages can be confusing in a personal injury case. When you are injured in an accident, you suffer emotional injuries and financial damages in addition to your physical injuries. If your accident is caused by another person, you are entitled to be compensated for your economic and your non-economic damages.
The first step in understanding how to calculate pain and suffering in a personal injury case is understanding the difference between economic and non-economic damages.
Our personal injury attorneys offer free consultations and case evaluations to provide additional information about compensation in your personal injury case.
Economic Damages in a Personal Injury Case
Economic damages are financial damages you can measure in monetary terms. In other words, economic damages are your “out-of-pocket” costs related to the accident. For example, common economic damages we see in many personal injury cases include:
- Past, present, and future medical expenses
- Past, present, and future lost wages
- Property damage
- Cremation, funeral, and/or burial expenses
- Ongoing personal care and/or medical care
- Over-the-counter medications and medical supplies
- Travel expenses
- Loss of earning capacity
Calculating economic damages involves obtaining copies of your medical bills, evidence of past income, and invoices or other proof of expenses related to the accident. In the case of future expenses, our lawyers use experts to calculate the monetary cost you will suffer due to your injuries from the accident.
Non-Economic Damages in a Personal Injury Case
Non-economic damages are often referred to as “pain and suffering.” This refers to the physical pain, emotional suffering, and mental anguish you experience due to the accident and the injuries you suffered in the accident. Other types of damages included in “pain and suffering” are:
- Permanent disability
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship, support, and love (in the case of a death)
- Restrictions in your day-to-day life
- Mental problems (i.e. trouble sleeping, overwhelming fear, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, etc.)
- Impact of your relationship with others
The law cannot undo the damage caused by an injury; however, it can compensate you for your damages with a financial recovery. The purpose of pain and suffering damages is to pay you a specific amount of money to compensate you for your injuries, losses, and damages that cannot be “billed or invoiced” in the same manner as your out-of-pocket economic damages. The question becomes how do we calculate the amount of compensation for your pain and suffering.
Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages in a Personal Injury Case
Pain and suffering cannot be calculated by looking at bills and invoices nor can it be reduced to a simple formula. Two people can suffer the same exact injury because of an accident with similar circumstances but suffer in different ways and in different degrees. Therefore, the only way to calculate pain and suffering damages is to use factors that the court has accepted as a guide when calculating the amount to pay for pain and suffering damages.
You cannot put a price tag on someone’s pain and suffering but you can base the compensation on the severity of the injury and the level of impact the accident has had on your day-to-day life and overall quality of life. Some of the evidence our attorneys use when calculating the amount to demand for pain and suffering damages in a personal injury case include:
- Medical records
- Physical evidence of your injuries (i.e. photographs, videos, etc.)
- Photographs from the accident scene
- Testimony from eye witnesses and expert witnesses
- Copies of psychological or mental health treatment
- Evidence of permanent disabilities, scarring, and/or disfigurement
- Testimony regarding how the injuries and accident has impacted your life (i.e. you cannot care for your children, you cannot perform household chores, you cannot continue a cherished hobby, etc.)
- You are unable to maintain relationships with family and friends
- Did your injury require invasive procedures or painful treatments and/or surgeries?
- The severity of your injuries and the time it took you to recover from your injuries
Because each personal injury case is different and each accident is unique, calculating pain and suffering damages cannot be simplified to a standard equation. Our personal injury lawyers have years of experience handling personal injury cases and calculating pain and suffering damages. This gives us an advantage over attorneys with less experience because they do not understand the complexities involved in maximizing pain and suffering compensation.