A personal injury accident does not only involve medical bills, lost wages and other economic expenses. It also has personal costs, such as physical pain, emotional suffering and mental anguish. In Nebraska, the civil courts allow victims to seek compensation for non-economic damages as well as economic ones. Learning what the courts consider pain and suffering during an accident claim could help you demand full and fair compensation for your damages.
Physical Pain and Emotional Suffering
Pain and suffering refers to physical and emotional pain and suffering the accident has caused and will likely cause in the future. It can refer to the actual physical pain you felt from your injuries, as well as discomfort, immobility, limitations or disabilities. If you have chronic pain from your injury, you could also seek compensation for your foreseeable future pain.
The suffering aspect refers to the emotional repercussions of the accident, such as distress, anxiety, fear, depression, shock, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychological trauma, grief, embarrassment and mental anguish. You can help prove pain and suffering damages during an accident claim by keeping a journal. Document how you feel and the sensations you are experiencing in the aftermath of an accident in writing. Describe your pain and suffering in detail and add the date to each journal entry.
A journal can give a judge or jury a look into your thoughts and feelings after an accident, helping them understand how greatly the accident or injury impacted you. Your lawyer may also bring family members or friends to the stand to testify as to your physical pain and emotional suffering after an accident. An official diagnosis of a mental health condition could also help prove your damages.
Other Intangible Damages
The courts use pain and suffering as an umbrella phrase. It can refer to much more than just physical pain and emotional suffering. It can encompass any noneconomic or intangible damage you experienced because of your accident or injury. Your lawyer can help you assess everything you are feeling due to your injuries through a legal lens, putting a name and monetary value to all the negative outcomes of your accident.
- Lost quality or enjoyment of life
- Diminished interest in favorite activities
- Missed professional or personal opportunities
- Loss of consortium (care, companionship, love and guidance)
- Sexual dysfunction
- Loss of household services
- Loss of appetite
- Sleeping problems
- Trauma from permanent scars or disfigurement
- Mood swings and behavioral changes
- Bereavement over a deceased loved one
Hire an attorney to help you create a list of all the ways in which an accident and injury have affected you. A lawyer can help you understand what does and what does not qualify as pain and suffering damages in Nebraska. Then, your lawyer can calculate a fair compensatory award to demand from the defendant. You may bring a claim solely for pain and suffering in Nebraska. However, most plaintiffs seek pain and suffering on top of economic damages.
Calculating Pain and Suffering in Nebraska
The courts calculate pain and suffering differently than economic damage awards. While economic damages come with financial statements, bills and pay stubs to determine monetary value, this type of proof is not available to establish the value of pain and suffering. Instead, a jury will put a quantifiable value on pain and suffering through one of two methods.
- Multiplier method. Multiplying the plaintiff’s total economic damages by a number from 1.5 to 5. The multiplier chosen will signify the severity of the injury and its effects.
- Per diem method. Calculating a per-day rate (often equivalent to the person’s working wage), then multiplying it by the number of days the plaintiff experienced pain and suffering.
These are two common methods used. However, a jury in Nebraska has the freedom to determine a pain and suffering award using another method or no equation at all. Work with an attorney for the best odds of obtaining a fair pain and suffering settlement or verdict award. Your Omaha personal injury lawyer will know how to illustrate intangible losses to a jury in a way that makes an impact and gets results.