Not every harm you suffer from in a personal injury case results in a direct monetary loss. Physical injuries are easy to identify. But what does pain and suffering mean and how is this also recoverable?
Pain and suffering mean losses that are less tangible or visible. Injured individuals can suffer too in areas such as emotional damage, psychological damage, physical damage, or relationship damage, in addition to things that are more easily quantified like medical expenses, lost wages, and damaged property.
These types of damages are referred to as “non-economic damages.” The most common type of non-economic damage available in Texas is pain and suffering.
This type of damage can be difficult to understand and calculate. But they are damages nonetheless and a good personal injury lawyer knows how to negotiate for pain and suffering type damages when necessary. In the Sugar Land area of Texas, you should contact Adam Capetillo, an experienced personal injury lawyer, if you have questions about damages for pain and suffering. He will fight to get you the compensation that you deserve.
How Are Pain and Suffering Defined in Texas?
“Pain and suffering” refers to the physical and emotional pain you suffer after getting into an accident. Some examples of pain and suffering include:
• Physical pain and discomfort caused by the incident and treatment;
• Permanent disfigurement, scarring, or disability;
• Post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological trauma;
• Loss of consortium;
• Emotional distress;
• Anxiety and depression; and
• Loss of enjoyment of life.
Loss of consortium is the damage you can suffer in your relationships including the relationship with your spouse. Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute (LII) defines it as “Deprivation of the benefits of a family relationship (including affection and sexual relations) due to injuries caused by an accident or injury (tort law).” For example, the spouse of someone injured or killed in an accident can sue for damages based on loss of consortium.
When Are Pain and Suffering Damages Awarded in Texas?
There are several factors that the court will consider when determining whether to award pain and suffering damages in Texas, including:
• The severity of the victim’s pain and suffering at the time of the incident;
• The pain and suffering endured during any subsequent treatment;
• Any resulting long-term pain or loss of function;
• The emotional trauma caused by the accident;
• Whether the victim’s quality of life changed; and
• Whether the victim can engage in normal activities.
How Do I Prove Pain and Suffering Damages in Texas?
Injured victims must present objective evidence of their pain and suffering if they want to recover compensation, so you would need to present this type of evidence. Your lawyer will need to communicate the severity of your injuries and the accident’s effect on your quality of life. Some examples of evidence your lawyer may use to prove your pain and suffering damages include:
• Medical bills,
• Medical records,
• Testimony of medical professionals;
• Pictures of your injuries,
• Psychiatric records,
• Documentation of missed work; and
• Testimony of spouse, family, and friends.
Proving pain and suffering can be complicated, so working with a qualified Sugar Land personal injury attorney is essential.
How are Pain and Suffering Damages Calculated in Texas?
Pain and suffering damages are not easy to calculate. There is no single method used in Texas to determine the value of pain and suffering in a personal injury case. But two of the most common methods the court uses are the multiplier method and the per diem method. Each approach relies on several variables. Again, a knowledgeable personal injury attorney can help you calculate a reasonable estimate for your claim.
• The Multiplier Method
When using the multiplier method, the value of economic damages is multiplied by a certain number (usually between 1.5 and 5) depending on the severity of the accident or injuries. The multiplier number is higher when there is evidence of severe pain, disability, and major changes to the victim’s life. Often the multiplier number is decided during settlement negotiations.
For example, suppose you were in a car accident and sustained economic damages worth $10,000. The judge decides that the appropriate multiple in your case is 2. The economic damages of $10,000 would be multiplied by 2 to determine the pain and suffering damages. The $20,000 in pain and suffering damages would then be added to the $10,000 in economic damages. Your total claim amount would be $30,000. It is made up of economic damages and non-economic damages.
• The Per Diem Method
With the per diem method, the court decides on an amount of appropriate compensation per day and multiples that amount by the number of days the victim was in recovery. A typical per diem amount is the victim’s daily salary. If the victim will never fully be recovered, the victim receives compensation until they have reached maximum medical improvement. This method is more often used for short-term injuries.
For example, suppose you suffered a head injury, and the court decides that the appropriate daily amount is $100. If it takes 365 days (one year) to recover, you will receive $36,500 in pain and suffering damages.
In general, there is no cap on pain and suffering damages in Texas. However, there is a cap in medical malpractice cases and when suing the government as the defendant.
Damage caps are laws that limit the amount of non-economic damages that may be awarded for a case. Currently, each state has its own damages cap. For example, as of 2022, eleven states had caps. Meanwhile, the federal government has put a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages for medical malpractice cases and states can also place caps on non-economic damages for medical malpractice claims as well.
Your Sugar Land Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have questions about filing a personal injury claim and learning about what you may be entitled to, please reach out to Capetillo Law Firm. An experienced attorney in both Personal Injury and Criminal Defense, Attorney Capetillo has over 100 five-star Google Reviews and many satisfied clients. Adam Capetillo is a Fort Bend County native and serves clients who will protect your rights and get you the maximum compensation available. Call Capetillo Law Firm today for a free consultation.