How Is Pain and Suffering Calculated After an Accident in Mississippi?
If you were badly injured in an accident due to the careless or wrongful actions of another party, you might be entitled to compensation. Some of your compensation is specific for lost wages and medical expenses, but you may also be entitled to non-tangible damages, which includes pain and suffering.
What Are Pain and Suffering Damages?
An accident can be a traumatic event that can leave a person with emotional scars that prevents that person from participating in many life activities. Pain and suffering damages compensate victims for the physical pain that results from injuries as well as the emotional distress. Factors such as loss of sleep, depression, and anxiety are common consequences of a serious injury. Since pain and emotional distress aren’t necessarily quantifiable, the challenge then becomes how to best place a value on these damages.
Limits on Mississippi Pain and Suffering Damages
Some states limit the kinds of damages that a victim can receive when they sue the wrongful party in a personal injury case. Mississippi is one of those states. The Mississippi legislature amended Miss. Code Ann. § 11-1-60 in 2004 to place caps on non-economic damages, or pain and suffering.
Currently, there are limits of $1 million on personal injury pain and suffering and $500,000 on medical malpractice pain and suffering damages in Mississippi. The constitutionality of these rules has been challenged multiple times over the past several years. In short, the courts have upheld the current laws, and the state’s cap on non-economic damages remains in place.
How Pain and Suffering Damages are Calculated
Now that we know the limits on pain and suffering damages, figuring out how much should be awarded in each case is highly subjective. Some of the factors that a court or jury might consider when placing a value on non-economic damages include:
- The type and extent of your injuries
- Your long-term prognosis
- Cost of medical care including any mental health treatment
- Any limitations that you might have in daily activities
- The impact that your injuries have had on your ability to sleep
- The way that your injury has affected your relationships
The more ways that your life has been adversely affected by your injury, the higher a pain and suffering award is likely to be. Similarly, if the negative impacts of your injury are expected to be long-lasting, or result in scarring or disfigurement, damages will also be higher.
Another way to come to a pain and suffering figure is to rate your level of pain and emotional trauma from the accident on a scale of one to five, with five being the most severe. Once you have that figure, multiply your result by the amount of your economic damages to come to a realistic demand for pain and suffering. For example, a soft tissue or whiplash injury might rate between 1 to 3, while broken bones and traumatic brain injury would rate from 3 to 5.
Evidence Needed to Prove Pain and Suffering Damages
Awards for pain and suffering in Mississippi aren’t automatic in injury cases. A victim must be able to prove that they have suffered these damages, which can be a challenge considering their nature. Some of the most effective evidence in proving non-economic damages includes:
- Photographs of the victim before and after the accident
- Personal journals and diaries describing the emotional and physical impact of the accident
- Letters and testimony from family and friends
- Documentation of mental health treatment
The state of Mississippi places time limits, called a statute of limitation, on filing personal injury claims. You have three years after sustaining an injury to file a claim for damages, but you should certainly consult with a qualified Mississippi personal injury attorney as quickly as possible to preserve your right to collect all forms of compensation.
Get Help From a Qualified Mississippi Personal Injury Attorney
Whether you have been injured in a car accident, slip and fall accident, or another type of accident, pain and suffering is just one of the ways that you can collect from the responsible parties. The Gardner Law Firm has extensive experience in protecting the rights of our clients throughout Mississippi as well as determining the value of personal injury claims. Contact us today 228-436-6555 or online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.