Damages are monetary compensation to cover losses after an injury. When you initiate a personal injury case, there are two different types of damages for which you might qualify: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are losses that have a precise cost associated with them. They can be calculated mathematically or proven with receipts, bills, and invoices. These damages cover past and future medical bills, lost wages from missed work, and diminished earning capacity among other things.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are different. These damages include pain and suffering – something that doesn’t have a definite value – but is still deserving of compensation.
Pain and suffering is a technical term that refers to the physical discomfort and the emotional distress that you suffer as a result of your injury.
The term “encompasses the pain, discomfort, anguish, inconvenience, and emotional trauma” that accompanies your injury.
Pain and suffering can include damages such as:
These losses are as important to your case as your economic damages. They recognize that your injury is more than missed work and medical bills.
Now, the question is: How can this get calculated? Without bills and invoices, how does someone decide what your physical and emotional trauma is worth?
In personal injury cases, courts will typically use “the multiplier method” to calculate your pain and suffering calculator. This formula accounts for pain and suffering by multiplying your economic damages by a multiplier of 1.5 to 5, depending on the severity of your injuries. Therefore, you will typically recover greater non-economic damages than economic damages.
There are a few pain and suffering calculators out there that you will encounter:
Online calculators are never accurate. No two injuries are the same, and an online calculator doesn’t understand the nuances of your situation.
Insurance companies have their own calculator as well. Their goal is to pay out the least amount of money that they can, so their calculator is based on a formula. Insurance companies will take your medical bills and multiply that number by a predetermined factor. This is the amount that they believe your pain and suffering are worth.
An experienced personal injury attorney calculates your pain and suffering as well. They may consult experts to get a precise value for your pain and suffering. This is the amount that they will fight for in the lawsuit.
Economic damages are easy to prove. It is a calculation of receipts or paychecks. This is a bottom-line number that you can add up together. Non-economic damages are a little bit more abstract. It is a real pain that doesn’t cost a specific amount of money. So how can you prove what you are going through?
Proving your pain and suffering is done by using evidence. You need to document everything. A few ways to capture your pain and suffering are by:
The more robust your evidence, the better for your case. While something like journal writing might seem trivial, it is a key part of illustrating your experience after your accident.
Not every personal injury case goes to trial. If the case is settled outside of court, the damages might be limited to what the insurance coverage is. Going to trial opens the door for high damages compensation. Whether or not you should go to trial or settle is very case-dependent. Your attorney will assess your case and counsel you on the best route to take.
Pain and suffering damages are an important part of your personal injury case. However, they can be hard to get. A personal injury lawyer can help you strengthen your case to recover all your damages related to your injury — not just medical bills.
Contact or call Oresky & Associates, PLLC at (718) 993-9999 to schedule a free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers in Queens or the Bronx.