Some of the losses caused by an accident are easy to calculate. Medical bills, rehabilitation expenses, lost wages, and other accident-related expenses can be quantified with proof of your monetary losses. But what about damages that can’t easily be assessed? Pain and suffering does not come with a price tag.
There’s no denying that accident victims often suffer tremendous pain and mental anguish after serious accidents. However, being awarded pain and suffering damages in Michigan is subject to certain restrictions. You’ll need an experienced injury attorney by your side in the fight for the compensation you’re owed.
Contact Christensen Law. Our acclaimed legal team has been helping clients get the compensation they deserve for decades.
Our legal team’s commitment to excellence is well-recognized. Firm founder David E. Christensen was named Lawyer of the Year in 2019 by Best Lawyers, and the firm has consistently held an AV Preeminent designation from the peer rating service Martindale-Hubbell.
Don’t let your pain and suffering go under-compensated. Call or contact us online today.
What is Pain and Suffering after a Personal Injury?
Pain and suffering refers to the physical pain, emotional trauma, and mental stress that you experience as a result of your accident-related injuries.
To prove pain and suffering in Michigan, you must meet a legal standard set by the state’s tort threshold law (most commonly referred to as the Michigan bodily threshold). To meet that standard, you must prove that you have suffered “permanent serious disfigurement” or a “serious impairment of body function” by showing the following:
- You have sustained an impairment that is obvious to other people.
- The impairment is of a body function that is greatly significant.
- The impairment affects your overall ability to lead a your normal life.
Examples of threshold injuries can include broken bones, traumatic brain injury (TBI), paralysis, disfigurement, and amputation. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can help you determine if your injuries meet the Michigan threshold.
What Accidents Can Result in Damages?
The following types of accidents can result in pain and suffering damages:
- Vehicle accidents: These may involve cars, motorcycles, commercial trucks, bicycles, and pedestrians.
- Slip and fall accidents: Property owners may be held liable if you suffer a slip and fall on their premises.
- Animal bites or attacks: Dog bites are the most common.
- Medical malpractice: Surgical mistakes, prescription errors, and misdiagnoses are examples of actions that could lead to a malpractice claim if someone is injured.
- Defective products: It’s possible to hold a product designer, manufacturer, or retailer to blame if a faulty product causes serious injuries to consumers.
- Nursing home abuse: The elderly are one of Michigan’s most vulnerable populations. Victims may suffer tremendous physical, emotional, or financial abuse at the hands of negligent nursing home employees.
Economic vs. Non-Economic Damages
Damages in a personal injury case are classified into two distinct categories: economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are objectively quantifiable losses. They can be measured and verified. Examples include:
- Property damage
- Past and future medical expenses
- Loss of future earnings
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Out-of-pocket expenses
Non-economic damages are more subjective and based on non-monetary losses. Pain and suffering is a non-economic damage. If you’ve been hurt, you can be awarded compensation for:
- Physical pain
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Lost enjoyment of life
- Embarrassment, shame, and humiliation
Why is Measuring Pain and Suffering So Difficult?
Pain and suffering is largely subjective. Though there are several factors that may be considered when calculating a settlement amount for pain and suffering, they are subject to interpretation. The victim’s age and circumstances, general health, mental history, education, work situation, and current overall condition are all important aspects to think about when coming up with a figure to negotiate.
When it comes to calculating pain and suffering, there is no standard method that is used or mandated. The most common ways are:
- Multiplier method: Multiplying the total amount of your monetary damages with a number between one and five. The number that you multiply with depends on the gravity of your injuries.
- Per diem: Your daily pain will be assigned a cost and multiplied by the number of days that it will take you to make a full recovery.
- Estimation: General estimate of what your pain and suffering costs.
All successful pain and suffering claims require strong evidence. This may include:
- Medical reports, pharmaceutical records, and physical therapy logs
- Photos and video illustrating and demonstrating the injuries
- Medical testimony and evaluations regarding the magnitude of the injuries
- Statements from injured party describing the pain and trauma that they are experiencing because of the injury
- Statements from family members and friends describing how the injured party was impacted by the injury
- Prescriptions and over-the-counter medication receipts
- Proof of time off taken from school or work
- A pain journal documenting the daily struggles of the injured victim
Detroit Pain and Suffering Damages Limitations
In order to make a claim for pain and suffering in Detroit, there are some limitations that you must be aware of.
A claimant’s ability to recover compensation could be restricted by Michigan’s modified comparative fault doctrine. This rule bars any of the parties who are 51 percent or more at fault for an accident from recovering any compensation for their injuries pain and suffering, but they can recover a portion of their economic losses.
There is also a deadline to file personal injury claims in Michigan. This is called the statute of limitations. You have three years to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim. The deadlines are shorter for certain other injury claims, so be sure to check with an attorney right away to make sure that you don’t miss the window to file.
We Can Help You
If you have suffered injuries in an accident that wasn’t your fault, a Detroit personal injury lawyer at Christensen Law will stand up for you.
Call or contact us today for a free case review. There’s no obligation and no fee unless we win your case.