What is pain and suffering/non-economic damages? Am I entitled to compensation for it?

On a sunny, summer day, Victor was driving home from a long days work on the Clara Barton Parkway. Suddenly, a car being driven by a teenage driver slammed into Victor at over 80 miles per hour. Victor’s car was vaulted across multiple lanes of traffic before it fish-tailed and started flipping over. As his car started rolling across the median into oncoming traffic, his life started flashing before his eyes. After what seemed like an eternity, his car came to a rest.

Once the emergency responders arrived, Victor was cut out of his car and rushed to the hospital. The doctors worked to remove glass from his wounds and stitch up his face. The next day, he was discharged from the hospital. While he was lucky to be alive, he started a long and painful healing process. Victor met with an orthopedic surgeon for extremely painful injuries to his neck. The pain disrupted his sleep and prevented him from playing soccer with his friends.

An MRI revealed that Victor had a herniated disc in his neck.

Victor’s orthopedic surgeon prescribed him a course of physical therapy. Months of painful stretching and exercises only partially alleviated his pain. Victor was then given epidural injections, a shot injected directly into the spine, which he described as “the most painful thing I had ever experienced”.

One year after the collision, Victor’s pain remained as a constant reminder of the horrible collision. On the nights the pain kept him up, he sat in bed and relived the terror he felt during that crash. Finally, his orthopedic surgeon delivered that bad news: there was nothing more that he could do for Victor.

He would just have to live with the pain for the rest of his life.

If you were to ask Victor, who was in his mid-40’s what he believed was a fair monetary amount to compensate him for what he has been through, he would tell you that he would prefer that the collision never happened. No amount of money is worth what he goes through.

Unfortunately, for victims such as Victor, this is not an option. Instead, victims of accidents are made whole for their injuries by financial compensation. Financial compensation is provided to the victim for “non-economic damages”. Non-economic damages is a general term which includes, but is not limited to, the victim’s pain, suffering, inconvenience, pre-impact fright, permanent impairment, mental anguish, disfigurement or other ways that an accident affects his daily living.

Contrary to some opinions, victims of accidents who are seeking non-economic damages are not seeking “jackpot justice”, but rather are seeking a fair settlement to make them as whole as possible following a major disruption to their life through no fault of their own.

There is no specific formula or method to calculating what compensation a person is entitled to after an accident. The specific facts of your case, and the extent to which the accident affected your life will determine what is “fair compensation” for your injuries. The attorneys at Dross Berman LLC would be happy to provide a free consultation to discuss your case and can help you assess how your accident has affected your life.