Among the potential damages victims may seek after a car accident is non-economic damages, which include pain and suffering among other things. Calculating damages like pain and suffering can be a lot more complex than calculating medical bill expenses. This is because these damages aren't monetary – they have to be converted into monetary terms. Even so, victims of accidents may be entitled to non-economic damages to help them become “whole” again after an accident or personal injury.
In this article, we'll discuss how to calculate non-economic damages in an accident settlement. To access our online injury settlement calculator, click here.
If you've been hurt in an accident, we advise that you reach out to an experienced accident lawyer to schedule a free initial consultation and case review. You can reach us by call or text at (602) 345-1818 to schedule your consultation today. You may also fill out the form on this page, and we will reach out to you to set up your appointment.
What Is “Pain and Suffering?”
Pain and suffering are recoverable non-economic losses. It refers to the physical discomfort and emotional distress that victims may sustain after an accident. These are compensable damages in an accident settlement. There are two kinds of pain and suffering:
- Physical pain and suffering - The physical injury-related pain (both up to the date of recovery and that which can be reasonably expected to continue into the future)
- Mental pain and suffering - The emotional distress that an injury may cause a plaintiff
Both types are recoverable in Arizona and New Mexico.
Other Types of Non-Economic Damages
Psychological recovery is a large part of the overall healing process after an accident. Damages for emotional distress and other forms of psychological trauma allow plaintiffs to be compensated for the impact that these types of injuries have on their lives. In addition to pain and suffering, other compensable non-economic damages may include:
- Severe physical pain
- Depression and anxiety
- Emotional distress
- Emotional trauma
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Anxiety and depression
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Wrongful death
How Are Non-Economic Damages Calculated?
It's simple to calculate some losses into a financial value. Economic damages like medical bills, lost wages, car repair bills, prescription costs, etc can be added up to obtain a clear monetary value. However, non-economic damages, like emotional distress or pain and suffering, are not as simple to put into monetary terms. An experienced personal injury lawyer will help you come to a value that helps you get on the road to recovery by reviewing the facts of your case.
In most cases, to quantify emotional distress and other types of non-economic damages, a multiplier will be used. In most personal injury claims, this multiplier will fall between 1 and 1.5. Once economic damages are calculated (lost wages, medical bills, etc), this total will be multiplied by the determined multiplier. Certain factors of the case may increase the multiplier – in some cases, it can go as high as 5. Some factors that tend to increase the assigned multiplier are the severity of injuries sustained, the unquestionable and obvious fault of the defendant, the chronic nature of sustained injuries, etc.
Some States Put Limits on Pain and Suffering
Depending on your state, you may have a cap for the amount of non-economic damages you could be compensated for in your financial recovery. However, neither Arizona nor New Mexico limits the amount you may collect in legal remedies for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
In Arizona, Article II, Section 31 of the AZ Constitution states “No law shall be enacted in this state limiting the amount of damages to be recovered for causing the death or injury of any person.” While there have been several attempts over the years to amend the state constitution's prohibition of damage caps, none have currently been successful.
In New Mexico, the New Mexico Tort Claims Act limits non-economic damage compensation to $750,000 in cases against government entities or employees. As a general rule, these cases must be analyzed on a case-by-case basis. Similarly, medical malpractice cases in New Mexico have a compensation limit of $600,000. There may also be exceptions to the medical malpractice damage cap, depending on the facts of your case. It's always best to consult with a personal injury lawyer in New Mexico to understand what your legal options may be.
An Accident Lawyer Can Help Your Calculate Pain and Suffering
If you've suffered losses due to the negligence of another, call or text our accident lawyers today to set up a free, no-obligation consultation. We will review your case and advise you on the next best steps based on the facts involved in your specific car accident or personal injury case. To schedule your consultation today, you can reach us at (602) 345-1818 if you're in Arizona or 505-386-2807 if you're in New Mexico. You may alternatively fill out our simple and secure online contact form here.
The content on this website is for general information purposes only. For legal advice regarding your specific situation, consult a knowledgeable lawyer at Impact Legal.
We serve car accident clients in both Arizona and New Mexico. From Phoenix to Mesa and Santa Fe to Albuquerque and every county and city in between, calling Impact Legal's car accident lawyers is the right choice.