New York City Personal Injury Law Blog
Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages in a Personal Injury Case in NY
If you intend to file a personal injury case, be prepared to wrap your wits around the legal jargon that comes with the paperwork. “Pain and suffering” is one phrase that will come up occasionally. In a nutshell, it is the loss or the damages you have suffered due to an incident or accident and for no fault of yours. But you have to know what constitutes pain and suffering damages in a personal injury case in New York. This knowledge will help you calculate the amount you can claim as compensation.
The following are the different types of pain and suffering damages that you can claim compensation for:
Physical Pain: This is the most obvious type and refers to the bodily injuries you may have suffered as a result of the incident. You are entitled to be compensated for your medical expenses—hospitalization bills, medicine, the rehab you may have to undergo, the cost of buying equipment such as the wheelchair or hearing aid, and the costs of hiring long-term care-giving services. You are also entitled to be compensated for wages lost due to a temporary or permanent disability.
To calculate the amount of damages on account of physical pain and suffering, you have to provide expert testimonies that specify the extent of your injuries and how these have affected your life or are likely to affect your ability to earn a living in the future. Some costs are not readily apparent; these have to be projected into the future.
Mental Pain and Suffering: An accident also leaves mental scars, some of which may prevent you from performing your daily personal and professional duties. Some types of mental pain and suffering are quantifiable; some others are not.
For instance, a head injury from a car accident may leave a person with brain damage that triggers a mental illness. The person has to seek treatment from a mental health professional and has to miss work and lose wages because of his condition. In this case, the cost of the mental pain and suffering is more or less quantifiable. The plaintiff is entitled to be compensated for the medical expenses, lost wages, and the cost of undergoing short-or long-term counseling and/or therapy sessions.
But consider this example. An accident causes you to miss a much-anticipated family event, and you are depressed and frustrated. This is also mental pain that you can claim compensation for. However, your suffering cannot be quantified. In most states, the judge gives freedom to the jury to determine the compensation amount based on their good sense.
Pain and suffering damages in a personal injury case in New York are not always easy to calculate. Even when the damages are quantifiable, much depends on factors like the credibility of the evidence provided and how the plaintiff comes across as a witness. Of course, much depends on the efficiency of the attorney in putting together an airtight case and his powers of persuasion. It helps to have an experienced and expert personal injury attorney handle your case.