Pain and suffering is a category of damages that may be available for recovery during a personal injury accident claim in Texas. It is a compensatory damage category that refers to intangible personal losses, such as physical pain and emotional suffering. The courts in Texas recognize the impact these damages can have on a victim after an accident and serious injury. The courts allow plaintiffs to request compensation for these noneconomic losses as they would economic losses, such as medical bills and lost wages. Find out how the courts might calculate pain and suffering in Texas for an idea of what your damages could be worth.
Damages That Fall Under Pain and Suffering
First, recognize what types of losses and experiences count as pain and suffering in Texas. Almost any type of mental, emotional, physical or psychological harm from an accident can qualify as a pain and suffering damage. Use a San Antonio personal injury lawyer to review your case and help you put names to the types of suffering you have experienced due to an accident in Texas.
- Physical pain and suffering, including chronic pain or discomfort
- Permanent disability, scarring or disfigurement
- Permanent loss of an important bodily function
- Emotional distress, mental anguish or grief
- Psychological trauma (e.g. post-traumatic stress disorder)
- Depression or anxiety
- Humiliation or embarrassment
- Diminished quality of life or lost enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium or services
In general, pain and suffering awards will be highest for victims with catastrophic injuries or those filing wrongful death claims. Juries place greater value on cases where victims can prove extreme pain and suffering, permanent disabilities, major impacts on daily life, or the losses of loved ones. It is possible to file a claim solely for pain and suffering in Texas, but it is more common to combine this loss with economic damages during a personal injury lawsuit.
Two Popular Calculation Methods
A jury may calculate a plaintiff’s pain and suffering award using many different methods, or no method at all. It is largely up to the granting party to decide how much a plaintiff deserves in pain and suffering, if anything. However, throughout history, most courts use one of two main methods to calculate a fair and reasonable pain and suffering award.
- The multiplier method. The courts may take the total amount of your economic damages – such as medical bills, property damages and lost wages – and multiply it by a number between 1.5 and 5 that represents the severity of your injuries. If you have $10,000 in economic damages, for example, and a jury decides on a multiplier of 2 for a moderate injury, you would receive $30,000 total ($10,000 in economic damages plus $20,000 in pain and suffering damages: $10,000×2).
- The per diem method. The per diem method comes up with a dollar amount you will receive per day while you heal from your injuries. The most common dollar amount matches what you normally receive daily through your working wages. You will receive this amount per day until you reach the point of maximum medical improvement. If the courts assign a per diem amount of $100, for example, and it takes 130 days to recover, you would receive $13,000 in pain and suffering damages.
The per diem method is more popular for injuries with an estimated recovery date, while the multiplier method is more common for long-term or permanent injuries. The amount you could receive in pain and suffering will depend on many factors. A jury may look at the severity of your injuries, nature of the injuries, how they will impact your future, how they have impacted your family, your age, income level, health prior to the accident and many other factors to determine a pain and suffering award. The only caps on pain and suffering in Texas are on medical malpractice claims and claims against the government.