After sustaining an injury, the pain and suffering that you go through is very real. Even though it can be hard to measure, you can seek compensation for it following an accident.
Lost wages and medical bills are forms of economic damages. They are tangible, have a precise monetary value, and are easily proven in court.
Unlike medical bills and lost wages, however, pain and suffering is a form of noneconomic damage. Noneconomic damages are intangible and, notably, lack a precise dollar value. Nevertheless, noneconomic damages are just as relevant as economic damages in civil litigation.
If you are filing a claim for civil damages, you should always account for any pain and suffering you experience. Because pain and suffering is a form of noneconomic damage, however, it is hard to know how much your pain and suffering is worth.
Tenge Law Firm is here to break down some pain and suffering settlement examples, so you will know how much a reasonable settlement for pain and suffering is before you file your claim.
When Can I Sue for Pain and Suffering Damages?
Before estimating the value of your pain and suffering damages, you should first know what qualifies as pain and suffering in Colorado.
Pain and suffering includes physical pain as well as mental anguish that you suffer as a result of the incident or injury. If the accident or injury in question causes such suffering, you can include pain and suffering damages in your claim.
Establishing Pain and Suffering
To recover pain and suffering damages you must show that the cause of your pain and suffering is the injury or incident itself. For example, if your pain and suffering stems from a car accident, you need to prove that the car accident caused the pain and suffering.
You can prove your suffering with the help of a medical or mental health professional.
Depending on how the incident is causing you pain and suffering, you might need to prove in court that:
- You received treatment for physical pain by a medical professional;
- You received psychological treatment from a mental health professional;
- You have lost a limb or your body was subject to permanent disfigurement; or
- You have lost the ability to do certain things that make you happy.
The key, no matter what form of pain and suffering you are dealing with, is proving that the incident caused your suffering. Establishing something like losing a limb is often a bit more straightforward than establishing things like insomnia or anxiety, as the latter require a specific diagnosis.
Opposing parties often try to argue that mental health issues were pre existing when claimants seek compensation for pain and suffering, but medical diagnoses will typically counter such claims.
What Is a Reasonable Settlement for Pain and Suffering?
The reasonable value of your pain and suffering settlement depends on your individual circumstances. The length of your suffering, the form it takes, and its intensity can all affect your settlement value.
Furthermore, the total economic damages that you seek in your injury claim can also affect the value of your pain and suffering. Noneconomic damages frequently exceed economic damages and may be calculated by multiplying economic damages by a number between 1 and 5, depending on their severity.
But at the end of the day, juries are given wide discretion in calculating awards for pain and suffering. They will evaluate all the evidence before them to calculate your award.
Unlike economic damages, Colorado caps the amount of noneconomic damages you can recover in a given claim. With few exceptions, the cap on noneconomic damages in civil claims is roughly $500,000.
Thus, most reasonable settlements for pain and suffering will not exceed $500,000. In specific circumstances, your noneconomic damages can exceed this cap, but Colorado courts apply a strict legal standard in such instances. If you believe your noneconomic damages might exceed the cap, it is crucial that you speak to an attorney right away.
Tenge Law Firm Can Help with Your Pain and Suffering Settlement
While it is possible to estimate your pain and suffering damages’ value yourself, the best estimate you can get will come from an experienced personal injury attorney.
The personal injury attorneys at Tenge Law Firm in Colorado are here to help you through the legal process and fight for all of the damages you suffered. We have offices in Fort Collins, Boulder, and Denver, where our top priority is to fulfill all our clients’ needs.