If you were injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you can win compensation for various types of damages you incurred. In most personal injury lawsuits, these damages cover medical expenses, lost wages while out on recovery, and the loss of property in the accident.
These types of damages are known as “economic” damages because a monetary cost for what was lost can be easily discerned. Although recovering compensation for these types of damages is important, there are also “non-economic” damages that can result in additional compensation despite having a far more subjective cost basis. Among these non-economic damages is pain and suffering.
What Is Pain & Suffering?
Within the context of personal injury law, pain and suffering covers any physical pain, emotional suffering, and mental anguish that can result from an accident.
Factors that the court will take into account include the following:
- The victim’s suffering at the time of the accident
- Pain and suffering caused as a result of medical treatment for accident injuries
- Any long-term pain or loss of function following recovery
- Emotional trauma spurred by the incident
You might notice that these are subjective experiences that can’t really be quantified using any sort of objective measurement. When it comes to pain and suffering, what one person experiences as the result of an accident is entirely unique to them. This is why pain and suffering are considered non-economic damages.
Determining Compensation for Pain & Suffering
Despite the subjective nature of pain and suffering, juries routinely award this type of compensation to personal injury plaintiffs. It’s often a validation of the traumatic experience someone went through because of an accident, as well as the physical and psychological effects of the accident that may never fully go away.
Although there is a $250,000 cap on pain and suffering awards in lawsuits against medical professionals and organizations, no such cap exists for other types of personal injury actions.
Pain & Suffering Multiplier
Although jury could theoretically award you with any sum of money as compensation for pain and suffering, it’s more likely that the multiplier system will be used to determine your compensation.
The multiplier system is pretty simple in its concept: For each finding of a non-economic damage in your favor, a number between one and five is assigned. This number correlates to the amount of pain and suffering the members of the jury believe you experienced, with five being the greatest.
Once a number is assigned to a non-economic damage, it’s multiplied by the total value of economic damages. The product of these numbers becomes the total compensation for pain and suffering, often in addition to economic damages.
For example: Assume you are involved in a serious car accident that resulted in $400,000 worth of medical bills, which you fully recover in your lawsuit. The jury believes your pain and suffering are severe enough to merit a multiplier of four. Because the multiplier is applied to economic damages (in this case, the $400,000 in medical bills), you are awarded an additional $1.6 million for pain and suffering.
Contact Rodriguez & Gimbert, P.L.L.C. Today!
Our personal injury lawyers at Rodriguez & Gimbert, P.L.L.C. are ready to help you with your claim. If you were injured in an accident someone else caused, we can help you recover the compensation you need to move forward with your life.