In personal injury claims, there are several categories of damages that claimants may pursue.
While it’s easy to focus on the economic losses (things like medical bills and lost wages) related to an injury, physical and emotional costs are just as serious.
As a result, these damages, commonly known as pain and suffering, play an essential role in your claim.
So, what counts as pain and suffering?
Here’s an overview of the losses in this category and some pain and suffering settlement examples.
Defining Pain and Suffering
In legal terms, pain and suffering is just a portion of a whole category of damages.
This category, known as non-economic damages, includes any intangible losses associated with the injury, such as:
- Mental or emotional anguish,
- Permanent disability,
- Severe disfigurement,
- Reduced quality of life,
- Loss of enjoyment,
- Loss of consortium, and
- Pain and suffering.
The one thing that these losses have in common is that they don’t have a standard economic cost. Instead, they affect the victim’s life in a unique, personal way.
For example, if the victim was an avid hiker before their injury but loses their ability to walk, they may experience tremendous emotional pain.
They may claim pain and suffering as a form of non-economic damage.
Pain and Suffering Settlement Examples
Since non-economic damages like pain and suffering affect everyone differently, calculating them varies from case to case.
Here’s an example of how pain and suffering might apply to a car accident.
Let’s say that Paul gets into a collision and sustains a spinal cord injury. In total, he has about $100,000 in economic damages due to medical treatment costs, lost wages, and more.
Before the accident, Paul had a fulfilling career as a fitness instructor.
However, his injury prevents him from working in fitness ever again or participating in physical activity.
Paul’s attorney notices the devastation that these injuries have on Paul’s mental and physical well-being.
Not only is Paul unable to participate in his favorite activities, but he’s slated to have more surgical procedures in the future.
Knowing this, the attorney decides to multiply Paul’s economic damages by four as a representation of his pain and suffering. In total, Paul’s claim is worth $500,000.
However, this isn’t the only way his attorney could determine the damages. He could calculate a per day cost during recovery instead.
For example, if Paul’s recovery lasts 1,000 days and his attorney assigns a per day cost of $500, Paul’s total damages would still be $500,000.
Outlining Pain and Suffering in a Settlement Demand Letter
As you can see from pain and suffering settlement examples, determining non-economic damages isn’t always straightforward. This is why we recommend speaking to an attorney.
They’ll spell out your pain and suffering in your demand letter by describing how your injury affects your day-to-day life.
This includes your personal accounts and witness testimony from friends, family members, colleagues, and even your doctor.
An attorney also helps keep track of the statute of limitations so you don’t file a claim too late.
Our New Jersey Personal Injury Attorneys Are Here for You
At Wiley Lavender Maknoor, P.C., we know that injuries have far-reaching effects.
If you sustained an injury due to a negligent person, you don’t have to fight it alone.