After enduring extensive injuries in an accident, many focus on the physical harm caused by such an experience. The hidden pain that comes along with the physical wounds also greatly impacts a victim’s life. Under the law, this is considered pain and suffering, a type of non-economic damage. Recovering compensation for these is vital for an injured victim to heal. Pain-and-suffering damages can assist a victim in moving forward from the mental and emotional difficulties they experience after an accident.
Proving pain and suffering for an injury claim in California is difficult without a qualified personal injury attorney. Read on to learn more about pain and suffering damages and how to prove them. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Frederick Law Firm.
What Are Pain and Suffering in an Injury Claim?
Injured victims are entitled to compensatory damages in the form of economic and non-economic damages. Pain and suffering are considered a form of non-economic damages under California law. Non-economic damages represent subjective losses that are more difficult to prove as they relate to an injury’s psychological and emotional effects.
Examples of pain and suffering include the following:
- Psychological trauma,
- Emotional distress,
- Physical impairment,
- Loss of enjoyment of life,
- Loss of companionship,
- Damage to reputation,
- Sexual dysfunction, and
Emotional distress includes the mental health effects of an injury or accident, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
Knowing how to value something as intangible as the inability to play baseball with your child or ride a bike is challenging. Despite the challenges of calculating these damages, these life-impacting damages are real. Thus, obtaining compensation for these damages is vital to your and your family’s recovery. A skilled attorney knows the steps for proving pain and suffering in California.
How to Prove Pain and Suffering
Proving pain and suffering in an injury claim is challenging as it requires you to demonstrate the extent of your harm. This is difficult because of the subjective nature of pain and suffering. To assist in proving the calculations demanded in your non-economic damages demand, your attorney may utilize the following means to demonstrate your claim:
- Medical test results like X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and other diagnostic tests;
- Doctor or therapist notes;
- Medical records and bills showing the extent of treatment required;
- Before and after photographs detailing the diminished quality of life experienced by the victim;
- Photos of physical injuries;
- Testimony from family, friends, co-workers, and other parties; and
- Expert testimony related to the loss of future earnings capability, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other issues.
As more evidence is gathered, it may be easier to frame a clearer picture of these losses and how they have impacted you and your family.
Your attorney will get to work immediately, gathering the necessary evidence to build a strong case for these damages on your behalf. An attorney understands that placing a value on these types of losses may feel impossible.
What Other Damages Can I Recover?
In addition to non-economic damages, you are also entitled to recover economic damages. Economic damages include calculable losses directly related to your injuries. These damages include the following:
- Medical expenses,
- Lost wages,
- Loss of future earnings, and
- Property damage.
Economic damages may be easier to substantiate due to their tangible nature. Documentation like medical bills, pay stubs, and other similar evidence may support your demand for economic damages. However, retaining all evidence related to these losses is vital to proving your claim. Without this documentation, it may be more difficult to prove these losses.
Methods to Calculate Pain and Suffering Damages
After enduring injuries in a traumatic accident, victims may be eager to learn how much they expect to receive in a personal injury lawsuit. Each personal injury case presents unique facts and circumstances that impact a case’s value. Although there is no single formula for calculating pain and suffering damages, some courts and insurance companies use the multiplier or per diem methods described below.
The Multiplier Method
The multiplier method calculates the amount of pain and suffering by multiplying the economic damages by a number between one and five. The value of this multiplier is based on the degree of your pain and suffering. The greater the pain and suffering, the greater this number. For example, if your economic damages are $300,000 based on extensive injuries sustained in an accident, and your multiplier is 4, your total non-economic damages would be $1,200,000.
The Per Diem Method
The per diem method calculates pain and suffering by multiplying the daily value of your pain and suffering by how many days you will suffer from your injury. For example, the court may determine that your daily value of pain and suffering amounts to $500 per day, and you need 300 days to recover from your injuries. Your pain and suffering damages would amount to $1,500,000.
Is There a Limit on Pain and Suffering Damages?
California does not impose a non-economic damages cap in most personal injury cases. However, non-economic damages are capped at $350,000 in non-fatal medical malpractice claims and $500,000 in fatal medical malpractice claims. The cap in on-fatal cases increases by $40,000 yearly until it reaches $750,000. The cap in fatal cases increases yearly by $50,000 until it comes to one million dollars.
Proving pain and suffering for an injury claim in California can be challenging. That’s why you need a knowledgeable and capable attorney to help you calculate these damages and fight for compensation.The plaintiff attorneys at Frederick Law Firm have advocated for victims for over forty years. We believe in treating our clients like family during the most challenging time in their lives. Our attorneys provide injured clients with the solution they need when facing mounting medical expenses, an inability to work, and a long road to recovery. Our legal team brings unparalleled experience and understanding of courtroom procedures to give you the upper hand in achieving the best possible results for your case. When you hire the attorneys at Frederick Law Firm, you can feel confident that we can achieve the highest possible settlement in your case. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn how we can help you.