If you’re in the process of filing a personal injury claim, chances are you’ve heard the term “pain and suffering.” But what does this actually mean? And how might it impact your settlement?
Economic vs. Non-Economic Damages
First, it’s important to understand that there are two kinds of damages in a personal injury case.
Economic damages are those we can easily assign dollars to. For example, we can calculate the medical expenses you’ve incurred by tallying up your doctor and hospital bills. Another example of economic damages is lost wages.
Non-economic damages are the subjective ways you’ve been harmed. Pain and suffering falls into this category. According to Washington State law, personal injury victims can seek compensation for non-economic damages.
For more on this topic, make sure to go back to our blog post, Damages in a Personal Injury Case.
Examples of Pain and Suffering
It’s easy to think of pain and suffering as being the actual physical pain you’ve endured as a result of your accident. While that’s definitely part of it, it’s not all of it.
Here are some other examples of pain and suffering:
- Embarrassment. New scars or disabilities may make you uncomfortable to go out in public.
- Loss of independence. Do you now need others to take care of you in some way?
- Disfigurement. An injury may leave you with permanent physical changes.
- Loss of consortium. Sometimes, an injury impacts your key relationships.
- Anxiety or depression. Changes to your mental health can require therapy and medication.
- Loss of enjoyment. Has your injury left you unable to engage in hobbies you once enjoyed?
- Grief. Loss of a loved one can be agonizing, particularly if it was preventable.
As you can see from this short list, pain and suffering can impact a victim’s life in many areas.
Calculating Pain and Suffering
There is no easy way to place a value on pain and suffering.
Factors that could play a role could include:
- Your age and general health at the time of the accident
- If you were responsible in any way for what happened
- Settlements in cases similar to yours
- The judge or jury determining your case
Finally, the strength of your attorney can make all the difference! If you have suffered significantly due to someone else’s negligence, make sure to have an experienced attorney on your side.
The attorneys at Ladenburg Law always offer free consultations and only charge a fee if we’re able to win your case. Since you’re under no obligation, give our personal injury lawyers a call today. We’d be happy to see if we can assist your family.