If you have been the victim of a Washington State personal injury accident, including a car accident, you may be due compensation for the injuries you received in the accident if someone else was at fault. Along with compensation for the physical injuries you received, you may also be entitled to compensation for the non-economic injuries, or “pain and suffering,” caused by the accident.
Although most people have heard the term “pain and suffering” before, they may not truly understand what injuries are included in a pain and suffering calculation or how they are calculated.
Legal Definition of Pain and Suffering in Washington State
Individual state laws decide what injuries are compensable in a personal injury accident and whether or not there will be a cap on the amount of damages that can be awarded for those injuries. In the State of Washington, non-economic injuries are defined as both mental and physical and shall include all subjective non-monetary losses, including, but not limited to, inconvenience, mental anguish, and emotional distress which has been experienced and with reasonable probability will be experienced in the future.
In other words, pain and suffering can include a wide variety of subjective injuries suffered in an accident. Think of the pain and suffering portion of your award as representing things that are not easily quantified. A medical bill can be easily quantified by looking at the bill to determine how much it was. The pain caused by the injury for which you incurred the medical bill is not as easily quantified. Likewise, the damage to your vehicle is easy to quantify because you have an estimate for the repairs or a bill for the cost of the repairs. The emotional distress you suffered in the impact, however, is much more difficult to quantify. Other things that are not easy to quantify include things like permanent disfigurement, scars and emotional trauma.
The Myth of “The Formula”
If you are under the impression that there is a magic formula that is used to calculate the pain and suffering portion of your injury award or settlement, you are not alone. Most people are also under that impression — although it is a misconception. Insurance companies would like you to believe that there is a formula and that you will not be entitled to compensation beyond the formula amount. This is simply not the case. The pain and suffering portion of your award or settlement is subject to negotiation by your attorney or debate by a jury after your attorney has presented the case to the jury.
The emotional distress, pain, and anguish caused by an accident will affect a victim in a unique way. The trauma of an accident may be more severe for one victim than for another. By the same token, the anguish caused by disfigurement or physical scarring may be more severe for one victim than for another. Just as we are all individuals, our emotional reaction to being the victim of an accident is unique.
A Washington State personal injury attorney can sit down with you and give you an accurate idea of what your case is worth, including the pain and suffering portion of your compensation. Things such as your age, occupation and general state of health prior to the accident, as well as the actual physical injuries you received, will be factors when calculating your pain and suffering award. Don’t settle for less than what your case is worth by listening to an insurance adjuster who tells you that your pain and suffering award is already set in stone.
If you have been injured in a personal injury or car accident in the Yakima area, you need an experienced attorney on your side who understands the laws that relate to calculating your pain and suffering injuries. The personal injury accident attorneys at The Mariano Morales Jr. Law Firm can help. Contact the team today by calling 509-457-1948 or by using our online contact form for your free initial consultation.