There are many phrases that make their way to common lexicon without most people understanding what they actually mean. One of these phrases is “pain and suffering” in reference to tort law, and most people consider it the gravy in a personal injury case. However, pain and suffering which is part and parcel of “non-economic” damages, are not always applicable, especially when there was no actual physical injury involved. A good example would be a lawsuit alleging emotional damages i.e. invasion of privacy, where an award for pain and suffering would not likely to be awarded unless the actor’s conduct was outrageously excessive.
A Dallas personal injury lawyer can certainly demand compensation for a client’s pain and suffering, and depending on the circumstances of the case, this can be quite considerable. However, when it comes to medical malpractice suits, there is a cap ranging from $250,000 to $500,000. Where a case falls will depend on several factors, which may have different weights for different states, but which generally include:
- Degree of severity, resulting in permanent or long-term disability and/or pain
- Plaintiff’s age, where younger victims tend to get larger awards for having to endure longer periods of debilitation than older subjects
- Intensity of suffering at the time of the accident and subsequent recovery
Because non-economic damages cannot be quantified in a standard manner, a jury is typically tasked to come up with a reasonable award given the circumstances of the case. Most people involved in something like car accidents are more likely to sustain severe injuries that would warrant compensation for pain and suffering. A South Carolina car accident lawyer can seek the maximum $750,000 allowed under state law, or even $1M if the injury resulted in the amputation of a limb, traumatic head or spine injury, or severe burns. Unlike Texas, though, the cap on non-economic damages applies to most personal injury cases in Tennessee, not just medical malpractice cases.