Pain and suffering is separate from your medical bills in a personal injury case. You can demand two basic classes of damages from the negligent party in a personal injury case. The first is economic damages, which include but are not limited to medical bills, lost income, and other financial losses.
The second class of damages, commonly known as non-economic damages, includes pain and suffering losses. Thus, pain and suffering is a different expense than your medical bills.
The best way to understand your recoverable damages in an injury accident is to work with a personal injury lawyer who will identify your expenses and losses, value them, and pursue compensation to pay for them.
Why Are There Two Categories of Damages in Personal Injury Cases?
Damages in personal injury cases break down into two types because the economic costs of a personal injury case are not the only losses an accident victim suffers. Imagine being unable to play sports with your children or dance with your spouse because you sustained severe leg injuries after a drunk driver hit you. Your medical bills and lost income would not be the full extent of your losses.
Not only will you lose out on the joy these activities used to bring, but your quality of life (and that of your family) will also likely suffer. This lost quality of life would not be restored by compensating you for your medical bills and economic losses.
It’s only fair that you would receive some compensation for this type of misery. This principle is rooted in the concept of non-economic damages being separate from economic damages.
Is Pain and Suffering the Only Non-Economic Loss?
Non-economic damages are not limited to pain and suffering. Other non-economic damages you could demand in a personal injury case include:
- Diminished quality of life
- Loss of consortium if your spouse or partner passed away from an accident
- Mental anguish, such as if your accident caused you to suffer anxiety or depression
- Disfigurement or permanent disability, if you are paralyzed, scarred, or left with another permanent physical disability
How Do You Calculate Non-Economic Damages?
Calculating non-economic damages is difficult because they are intangible. There is no set cost for them as there would be for a hospital stay or medical procedure. In most cases, pain and suffering and other non-economic damages are tabulated by taking the following factors into account and then estimating a dollar amount:
- How severe your injuries are
- The length of time you might suffer because of your injuries
- Your age at the time of the injury
- The extent to which your injuries limit or inhibit your daily life
- The level of mental anguish you suffer
- Any preexisting medical conditions that you had before the accident
One way to get an estimate on how much the pain and suffering in your case might be worth is to consult with a personal injury attorney. They not only have experience calculating pain and suffering, but they also have experience in filing insurance claims and negotiating settlements that include pain and suffering as part of their client’s compensation.
This experience could give them insight into your case’s potential value of pain and suffering. Having a skilled personal injury lawyer on your side could allow you to seek compensation for all of your losses, as they will ensure no cost is looked over when they assess your case.
Can You Claim Pain and Suffering Without Medical Bills?
In a personal injury compensation award, pain and suffering is a separate demand from your economic damages, but the two are linked. This is because economic damages, such as medical bills, serve as evidence of your physical injuries, and the extent of your pain and suffering is based heavily on the severity of those injuries.
If you don’t have medical bills or other economic damages from your accident, it may be challenging to recover compensation for pain and suffering. That’s not to say that there isn’t a degree of pain and suffering involved with a personal injury. However, if your pain and suffering wasn’t significant enough to require medical attention, making a case for receiving this type of compensation may be difficult.
Is There a Limit to Pain and Suffering Demands?
Florida law allows you to make pain and suffering demands commensurate with the extent of those injuries. Because of that, the state generally doesn’t cap the amount of compensation you can receive for pain and suffering in personal injury cases. However, there’s one exception: medical malpractice. If your personal injury case arises from medical malpractice, Florida law caps your pain and suffering at $500,000.
It’s important to understand, however, that even in this situation, not every malpractice case will result in a $500,000 award for pain and suffering. Calculations for your pain and suffering award will involve the same factors used in non-medical malpractice personal injury cases. The payout will depend on the injuries and pain and suffering you endured.
Talk to Ged Lawyers About Pain and Suffering Compensation in Your Case
If you experienced an injury caused by someone else’s negligence and you are considering making a demand for pain and suffering, it can help to have guidance from an experienced lawyer. While your family and friends may mean well when advising you, a personal injury lawyer who handles cases like yours every day can offer advice based on experience with cases like yours.
GED Lawyers is a law firm with personal injury lawyers who want to help you. Reach out to us today for a free consultation and get the information you need to make the best decision for you. Our attorneys can review your situation and explain how pain and suffering damages are different from your medical bills and other tangible losses.