If you get injured and file a personal injury lawsuit in Nebraska, you may be eligible to recover a category of damages referred to as pain and suffering. Pain and suffering is an umbrella phrase that refers to many different types of intangible or general losses connected to an accident. Knowing how pain and suffering is calculated in the Nebraska courts can help you understand the value of your lawsuit.
What Are Pain and Suffering?
The byproducts of an accident are not only financial. Some of the worst ways that an accident affects a victim are not economic or tangible. Noneconomic damages are the personal side of a personal injury – the pain, anguish and distress a victim experiences physically, emotionally and psychologically from the accident. During a personal injury lawsuit in Nebraska, you may be able to list these losses in your demands and obtain financial compensation.
The broad concept of pain and suffering can refer to many intangible and noneconomic losses, including:
- Physical pain or disability
- Chronic pain
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Emotional distress or anguish
- Mental or psychological trauma
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Anxiety or depression
- Lost enjoyment of daily activities
- Loss of household services
- Loss of consortium
Proving pain and suffering is more difficult than proving tangible losses. There is no hard evidence, such as medical bills, to prove that an accident gave you physical or emotional distress. Instead, you must rely on spoken or written statements from your friends, family members, subject experts and psychologists. You can also use a mental health diagnosis from a psychiatrist and an injury journal to demonstrate your pain and suffering.
Calculation Methods for Pain and Suffering
If a jury decides to grant a plaintiff an award for pain and suffering, it will assign an amount that is appropriate for the circumstances. A jury can decide on any amount it wants in pain and suffering damages, subject to a maximum on medical malpractice claims. Nebraska law does not mandate a single formula to use for calculating noneconomic damages. However, many juries rely on one of two calculation methods: the per diem method or the multiplier method.
The per diem method assesses the number of days the victim will most likely experience pain and suffering and multiplies it by a monetary amount that matches the intangible losses (usually equivalent to the victim’s daily wage). The multiplier method multiplies the total amount the victim received in economic damages by a number from one to five, with a lower multiplier used for more minor pain and suffering and a higher multiplier for catastrophic injuries.
The per diem method is more common with short-term injuries, while the multiplier method is used more often for permanent injuries. Although the State of Nebraska only has a maximum on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice claims (no more than $2.25 million in economic and noneconomic damages combined), federal law generally holds that a noneconomic damage award must be reasonable compared to the victim’s sum of economic damages.
What is the Average Pain and Suffering Award?
What a victim receives in pain and suffering damages can vary greatly from case to case. Since this is a subjective award that is based on each claimant’s individual experience, it is impossible to assign an average award amount. The best way to assess your pain and suffering damages is by consulting with a personal injury lawyer in Omaha. A lawyer can review the facts of your unique case to accurately assess your pain and suffering. Then, the lawyer can help you fight for maximum financial relief.
If you were recently injured in an accident in Nebraska, discuss your right to recover economic and noneconomic damages with an attorney in Omaha. An attorney can accurately evaluate your case and help you maximize your results using proven legal strategies. Discuss your case with the attorneys at Knowles Law Firm today for more information.