When another party causes you to be injured, you can sue that party for damages. Economic damages in a personal injury case include reimbursement for the financial losses you incur. Examples could include medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, and lost wages.
You can also recover compensation for your non-economic damages. These damages include the pain and suffering you experience because of emotional distress, physical discomfort, and other intangible harm caused by the other party. Pain and suffering damages are available in all types of personal injury cases, including slip and fall accidents, workplace accidents, and car accidents.
Placing a price on pain and suffering damages is challenging. There is no definite formula a court must use to determine how much someone’s pain and suffering is worth. Instead, we use the facts and circumstances of the case to decide the value for pain and suffering damages.
What Are Non-Economic Damages in a Phoenix Personal Injury Case?
Examples of non-economic damages include:
Physical Pain and Discomfort
Injuries from an accident or other personal injury incidents can cause extreme discomfort and pain. Some injuries cause chronic pain that does not respond to pain medication. Examples of injuries that cause pain and discomfort include:
- Nerve damage
- Traumatic brain damage
- Whiplash and neck injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Broken bones and fractures
- Soft tissue injuries
- Lacerations and puncture wounds
- Spinal cord injuries
- Back injuries
- Crushing injuries
- Loss of limbs and amputations
All injuries can cause physical pain. However, the level of pain a person experiences depends on many factors, including the type of injury, the severity of the injury, and the person’s tolerance for pain.
Emotional Distress and Mental Anguish
Accidents and injuries can cause mental anguish and emotional distress. Medical treatments and recovery can also cause emotional suffering. Examples of mental and emotional distress include:
- Panic attacks
- Eating disorders
- Sleeping disorders
- Distress and embarrassment about disabilities, scarring, and disfigurement
- Night terrors
The extent of psychological conditions could be disabling in some cases. Counseling and therapy can help with symptoms of emotional distress.
Disfigurement and Permanent Impairment
Personal injuries can cause permanent impairments and disabilities. The injuries can also cause scarring and disfigurements. Unfortunately, these conditions can have life-altering changes that impact numerous areas of a person’s life.
Diminished Quality of Life and Loss of Enjoyment of Life
Loss of enjoyment of life and diminished quality of life can result from:
- The inability to return to work
- Changes in your standard of living
- Not being able to care for your personal needs
- Adverse impact on personal relationships with friends and family members
- No longer being able to participate in activities you enjoy
- Being unable to conceive children
A diminished quality of life and loss of enjoyment of life could be temporary while you recover from your injuries. However, permanent impairments can result in long-term impacts on your overall well-being and quality of life.
How Do You Calculate the Value of Non-Economic Damages for a Personal Injury Claim in Arizona?
Arizona does not have a standard formula for calculating the value of non-economic or pain and suffering damages. Therefore, most insurance companies, personal injury lawyers, and courts use one of two methods for placing a value on pain and suffering.
Multiplier Method for Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages
The multiplier method bases the value of non-economic damages on a multiple of the total value of economic damages. A number between 1.5 and five is multiplied by the value of economic damages to calculate the value of pain and suffering damages. The higher the multiplier, the higher the value of pain and suffering damages.
Choosing a multiplier can be challenging without a statute or case law to offer guidance. Therefore, we must examine the factors of the case to determine the severity of the impact of the injuries on the person’s life.
Factors we use to determine the value of the multiplier include:
- The type of injuries you sustain
- The severity of injuries, including whether the injuries caused a permanent impairment
- Whether you can return to work
- The need for extensive medical treatment and/or rehabilitative therapy
- Whether you are partially to blame for the cause of your injury (contributory fault)
- The duration of your recovery
- The impact your injuries have on your daily activities
- How your injuries impact your relationships with other people
The multiplier increases as the severity of the impact on your life increases. Typically, catastrophic injuries increase the multiplier. For example, a spinal cord injury causes paralysis and generally results in a higher multiplier than a broken leg that heals without impairment.
The Per Diem Method
Another method of calculating the value of pain and suffering damages is the per diem method. A daily value is assigned based on factors like those described above.
The per diem is multiplied by how many days you take to recover from your injuries. Your recovery period begins with the date of your injury and ends when your doctor states you have reached maximum medical improvement.
The per diem method works best when the person does not sustain permanent disabilities.
Are There Caps on Pain and Suffering Damages in Arizona?
Some states place caps on the amount an injured party can receive for non-economic damages. However, Arizona’s constitution prohibits laws that limit the damages recovered for personal injury or wrongful death.
Insurance companies try to minimize the extent of pain and suffering in a personal injury case. They want to reduce the value of damages. However, you deserve compensation for the full value of your damages.
Working with an experienced Phoenix personal injury lawyer gives you the best chance of receiving a fair settlement for your personal injury claim.
What Is the Deadline for Filing a Claim for Pain and Suffering Damages in Phoenix, AZ?
Pain and suffering damages are part of your personal injury claim. Most personal injury claims for negligence have a two-year deadline to file lawsuits. If you do not file a personal injury lawsuit within two years, you give up the right to pursue a claim through the court.
However, there are exceptions to the general rule. For example, the deadline to file claims against the government is 180 days. If you do not file a notice of claim within that time, you could lose your right to compensation.
Therefore, it is best to speak with one of our Phoenix personal injury attorneys as soon as possible after an injury or accident. Seeking prompt legal advice protects your rights and helps you receive the compensation you deserve for a personal injury claim.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Phoenix Personal Injury Lawyers
At Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers, our Phoenix personal injury attorneys fight to recover the maximum value for your personal injury claim. Contact our law firm by calling (602) 595-5559 to schedule a free case evaluation to learn how much your personal injury case is worth.