When you suffer injuries in a motor vehicle crash or other accident caused by someone else’s negligence, your life immediately turns upside down. Your injuries could be very serious or even catastrophic. You could be hospitalized for a significant period of time. You could require surgery, physical and/or occupational therapy, rehabilitation, or various other treatments. In addition, you could be unable to return to work for quite awhile. Depending on the seriousness of your injuries, you could be disabled for life.
On top of all that, you also experience pain and suffering which may or may not end when your original injury heals. “Pain and suffering” is a legal term that refers to a wide variety of intangible injuries that you could suffer as a result of your accident. Pain and suffering includes not only your physical pain, but also the mental and emotional pain you suffer because of your injuries, such as the following:
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of consortium with your spouse
- Loss of your enjoyment of your life
Economic Versus Non-economic Damages
When you bring suit against the person who caused your accident, such as the negligent driver responsible for your motor vehicle crash, you can recover two different types of damages. One type is referred to as economic damages. The amount of these types of damages is easy to determine. They represent your doctor bills, hospital bills, medication bills, lost wages, etc.
The other type is called non-economic damages. These are the things, including your pain and suffering, on which no one, not even you, can place an objective value. But while non-economic damages may be subjective and intangible, they nevertheless are very real indeed, and you are entitled to receive compensation for them.
Qualifying for Pain and Suffering Damages
In order to recover pain and suffering damages in New York, your injury must fall into at least one of the following categories:
- A fracture
- A dismemberment; i.e., an amputation
- The loss of your fetus
- Significant disfigurement
- Your permanent limitation in the use of a bodily function, organ, system or member
- Your permanent loss of use of a bodily function, organ, system or member
- A non-permanent injury or impairment that prevents you from performing your customary daily activities for at least 90 days during the 180 days immediately following your injury
- Your death
Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages
It goes without saying that no amount of money can make up for the pain you suffer when you are injured in an accident. Unfortunately, however, money damages are the only remedy available. Consequently, an insurance company or jury must somehow place a value on your pain and suffering. There is no hard and fast rule they must follow when attempting to calculate it. Therefore, the amount of pain and suffering damages any plaintiff receives varies widely from lawsuit to lawsuit. This is why you need to contact an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident. He is the only person who is truly on your side when it comes to obtaining the compensation you deserve.
In general, an insurance company or jury will consider the following things when determining the amount of your pain and suffering damages:
- The type of physical injury you suffered and the seriousness thereof
- The amount and types of pain you have already suffered since your accident
- The amount and types of pain you are currently suffering
- The amount and types of pain you can reasonably be expected to suffer in the future
- The length of time you can reasonably be expected to suffer this pain
- Your present age
If you or your loved one is seriously injured in a motor vehicle crash or other accident, please call Richard A. Dubi toll-free at 833-FOR-DUBI (833-367-3824).