How Are Pain and Suffering Damages Calculated in New Mexico?

New Mexico personal injury laws provide a legal means for injured victims to seek compensation for their damages. Compensation includes reimbursement for monetary losses or economic damages. Examples include lost wages, medical bills, and out-of-pocket expenses.

An injured party can also receive compensation for their pain and suffering damages in New Mexico, which are a type of non-economic damages. You can pursue a claim for compensation of damages in all types of personal injury cases, including car accidents, medical malpractice, slip and fall accidents, truck accidents, and workplace accidents.

New Mexico does not have a standard formula for calculating the value of pain and suffering damages. However, by analyzing the facts and circumstances of the case, our lawyers build an argument for maximum compensation for your damages based on available methods.

What Are Pain and Suffering Damages in an Albuquerque Personal Injury Case?

Before discussing how to calculate your pain and suffering damages, it helps to understand what they are. Examples of pain and suffering damages include:

Mental Anguish and Emotional Distress

Being in an accident, sustaining an injury, and undergoing medical treatment can cause severe emotional distress and mental anguish. Examples of emotional distress and mental anguish include:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Depression 
  • Night terrors
  • Embarrassment and distress about scarring, disfigurement, or impairments
  • Severe anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Night terrors
  • Eating disorders
  • Problems with sleep

Psychological conditions after a personal injury or accident can be disabling. Therapy, counseling, and medication might be prescribed to treat the symptoms of emotional distress.

Physical Pain and Suffering 

Injuries can cause physical pain and discomfort. The level of pain depends on the severity and type of injury. It also depends on the person and their response to pain medication. Examples of injuries that are common in personal injury cases include:

  • Broken bones and fractures
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Neck injuries and whiplash
  • Back injuries
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Internal organ damage
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Puncture wounds and lacerations
  • Loss of limbs and amputations
  • Chest injuries
  • Crushing injuries

Physical pain is subjective. Therefore, it can be difficult to prove the level of pain someone experiences. However, keeping a journal detailing daily pain levels and how your pain impacts your life can help with your claim.

Permanent Impairments and Disabilities 

Sustaining a disabling condition or impairment can have life-altering implications for an accident victim. Non-economic damages include compensation includes compensation for these losses. 

Loss of Enjoyment of Life and Diminished Quality of Life

Injuries impact a person’s quality of life and their enjoyment of life. Ways that your injury could impact your quality of life include:

  • Inability to participate in hobbies and activities you enjoy
  • Not being able to bathe, dress, or care for your personal needs
  • Being unable to conceive or care for children
  • Inability to work 
  • Changes in your standard of living
  • Impact on relationships with family members and friends

The diminished quality of life can be temporary during your recovery. However, some victims sustain lifelong impairments that severely impact their ability to enjoy what they did before the accident. 

Calculating the Value of Pain and Suffering Damages for a New Mexico Personal Injury Case 

There are two common methods used to put a price on pain and suffering damages: the per diem method and the multiplier method. The multiplier method is used more often.

How Does the Multiplier Method Work?

A number between 1.5 and five is assigned to the case based on various factors. Then, we multiply that number by the total of economic damages. The result is the value of pain and suffering damages. 

The difficult step in the process is choosing a multiplier. Naturally, the insurance company will argue for the lowest multiplier possible. We advocate for the highest number to maximize pain and suffering damages. 

Since there is no formula for choosing a multiplier, we analyze the factors of the case, such as:

  • The type of injury you sustained
  • The severity of the injury and whether it caused a disabling condition or impairment
  • Whether you can return to work
  • The duration of your recovery
  • The type of medical treatments and rehabilitative therapies required to treat your injuries
  • An impairment rating from your physicians or medical specialists
  • The impact your injury has on your daily activities
  • How your injuries impact the people in your life and your relationships with them
  • The need for ongoing medical treatments, personal care, or nursing care

There is no priority for considering the factors. Generally, catastrophic injuries and permanent impairments increase the multiplier. 

The Per Diem Method

The per diem method is more suitable in cases that have a definite recovery period and do not involve permanent impairments. First, we use factors like those described above to assign a daily figure for pain and suffering.

Then, we multiply the daily figure by the total number of days it took to recover from the injuries. The recovery period begins on the day you sustained the injuries and ends when your doctor states you have reached maximum medical recovery. 

Does Comparative Negligence Impact Pain and Suffering Damages?

New Mexico has a pure comparative negligence standard for personal injury cases. If you are partially to blame for causing your injury, your compensation can be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you were 10% to blame for causing a motorcycle accident, your compensation for damages would be reduced by 10 percent. 

Comparative negligence applies to all compensatory damages in a personal injury case, including pain and suffering damages. Therefore, insurance companies often try to shift blame to the victim to avoid paying large settlements or jury verdicts. You can protect yourself by allowing an Albuquerque personal injury lawyer to handle all communications with the insurance company. 

Is There a Deadline for Filing a Claim for Pain and Suffering Damages in New Mexico?

Pain and suffering damages are included in your non-economic damages for a personal injury claim. Most personal injury cases have a three-year statute of limitations in New Mexico. If you do not file a lawsuit before the deadline, the court may dismiss your lawsuit. 

However, there could be different deadlines for cases involving government entities, minors, wrongful death, medical malpractice, and other situations. Additionally, factors specific to your case could change when the statute of limitations begins.

Therefore, we encourage you to contact our office as soon as possible to discuss your case with an attorney. We calculate the deadline to file a lawsuit to protect your right to pursue a legal claim in court. 

Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Albuquerque Personal Injury Lawyers

Our legal team at Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers fights to get you the maximum compensation for your personal injury claim. Contact our law firm by calling (505) 594-3621 for a free case evaluation from an experienced Albuquerque personal injury attorney. Let us help you receive the money you deserve after an accident or personal injury.