You may have heard the phrase “pain and suffering” in new stories related to car accident cases and wondered what pain and suffering damages are and how they are determined. Truthfully, pain and suffering damages can be difficult to describe because each case is different. Damages for pain and suffering may be awarded to car accident victims to compensate them for, among other things, their grief, emotional issues, and lost quality of life. Since people respond differently to car accidents and injuries, the monetary sums for pain and suffering can vary in seemingly similar car accident cases. For that reason, it is important to have an experienced Kansas City car accident lawyer on your side that can help you make your case for pain and suffering damages.
What Types of Injuries Fall Into the Category of Pain and Suffering?
Imagine that before you were injured in a car accident, one of your favorite hobbies was fishing. Then, you were in a car accident and your shoulder was severely injured. Now, the range of motion in your shoulder is so limited that you are unable to cast and you will never have the strength to reel in a big catch. This is just one example, but damages for pain and suffering can compensate you for loss of quality of life that you experience by not being able to partake in your lifelong hobbies.
Like lost quality of life, the following injuries may be compensable, but assigning a monetary amount to the specific injury is difficult.
- Physical pain;
- Emotional and psychological trauma;
- Anxiety, embarrassment, fear;
- Depression; and
What Will a Missouri Jury Do to Determine a Figure for Pain and Suffering Damages?
A Missouri jury can award damages that fall into two categories, general damages and special damages. General damages are those for pain and suffering while special damages are those that can be easily quantified, such as lost wages, current, and future medical bills.
To determine a figure for general pain and suffering damages, a jury may consider a number of factors including:
- The offensiveness of the defendant’s action;
- Amounts incurred for medical treatment;
- Pain resulting from the injury;
- The severity of the accident and injury;
- How the injury impacts employment; and
- How the injury impacts the lives of other family members.
If you are wondering about other types of compensation you may receive if you were injured in a car accident, see our previous post on the other types of damages.
Caps On Damages for Pain and Suffering
Some states have a cap on the amount of money that can be awarded for damages on pain and suffering. Missouri does not have a cap on pain and suffering in a personal injury case and in 2012, the state Supreme Court eliminated the cap on pain and suffering damages in medical malpractice cases. Importantly, Kansas does have caps on special damages. The Kansas law was recently revised and the cap varies based on the date of the accident. Many times, you will not have a choice of where to file your lawsuit in a car accident case, but because of the difference in damage caps between the two states, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney to make sure you are filing in the most advantageous jurisdiction.
Why consult with a lawyer?
The lawyers at the Krause & Kinsman Law Firm know that every car accident case is different and that each person’s injuries are unique. We will ask you the right questions to get the facts of your situation so that we can help make a clear and convincing case for the appropriate amount of pain and suffering damages. Our Kansas City car accident attorneys are here to help you tell your story about how your injuries impacted your life. For a free consultation, contact us today at 816-200-2900.
Robert Kinsman is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Robert Kinsman is passionate about normalizing the life of his clients after they have been seriously injured. Learn more about his experience here.