Pain and suffering compensation for personal injury casesIf you have been injured from the negligence or malicious intent of another person you have the right to compensation for your injuries or losses. Compensatory damages are the name of damages that the court will generally award to claimants for their personal injury and they can be paid for both economic and non-economic damages. The goal of compensatory damages is to financially restore the injured party to the state they were in prior to the accident.
Compensatory damages can include payment for medical bills (future and current medical costs), payment for loss of income (current and future lost wages), payment for property damages (car, home, personal items) and payment for pain and suffering.
State laws vary and states award damages according to various laws and processes but judges and juries in states will award monetary compensation based on elements of the case, the credibility of witnesses, and the validity of the evidence.
When will I get pain and suffering payments?
Compensation for pain and suffering is only given if you can prove that that you have suffered pain and suffering (emotional or physical) from an actual injury.
For example, pain is obviously a result of any physical injury: broken bones, surgery, lacerations, bruises, disfigurement or burns. What about suffering? It obviously can be caused by injuries as well and could include psychological suffering from a severe injury or permanent disfigurement, embarrassment, post traumatic stress or humiliation.
Evaluating Pain and Suffering
The courts will evaluate a number of factors in your personal injury case to determine if you can receive pain and suffering compensation for example:
- Did you seek medical care for your personal injuries? If you did not seek medical care the courts may assume you did not suffer any injuries.
- Did you have permanent injuries which caused disfigurement or loss of limb?
- What was the degree of pain you suffered from your injuries?
- Will you need long-term medical treatment?
- Are you going to be able to return to work?
- Did your injuries cause significant loss of enjoyment of life?
- How severe are your injuries?
- Are you currently taking your prescribed medications?
Calculating my payment for pain and suffering
Unlike medical costs, property damage, lost wages or other types of compensatory damages calculating the amount you should be entitled to receive for pain and suffering can be complicated. If you have been severely injured and you are unsure of the long-term costs of your injuries, talk to a personal injury lawyer.
Punitive Damages after a Personal Injury
We have all heard of outrageous settlements awarded for personal injury cases. Most of the especially high payouts are made for what the court calls punitive damages. Punitive damages are paid by the defendant in very specific circumstances. Unlike compensatory damages, which are paid to make the defendant whole, punitive damages are awarded to punish the defendant for their illegal or negligent actions.
Are you entitled to punitive damages? It will depend on the laws of your state, the nature of your injuries and the actions of the defendant. Punitive damages are not allowed in all personal injury cases, and if allowed, they may be capped by state law.
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