Limits on Damages for Pain and Suffering

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What Are Damages for Pain and Suffering?

Pain and suffering refers to physical and emotional injury. Damages for pain and suffering are intended to compensate victims for their injuries. These types of damages are often given in personal injury cases.

Economic damages, in contrast, are intended to provide victims with money they would have had but for the accident. For example, if the accident had never occurred, then the victim would not have medical bills or lost wages from missing work. Economic damages cover this “lost money.” Damages for pain and suffering, on the other hand, deal with the injuries inflicted.

In a recent case, a woman was shopping at the store when a six-pack of long-necked beer bottles fell on her foot. She was wearing socks and sandals. She recovered $87,000 for her pain and suffering because she developed a rare nerve disorder causing her constant pain.

Are There Federal Limits to Damages For Pain and Suffering?

There are no federal limits on pain and suffering damages. In fact, parties generally have the right to a trial by jury, where average citizens are allowed to decide the award based on their common sense and what they think is appropriate.

Are There State Limits to Damages for Pain and Suffering?

In many states, there is no limit for pain and suffering damages in a typical personal injury case. Other states have enacted some sort of cap for damages for pain and suffering. New Hampshire has a limit of $875,000, as compared to $350,000 in Maryland. Ohio and California have capped pain and suffering damages at $250,000. However, many of the limits apply only to medical malpractice or products liability cases.

In fact, limits on pain and suffering are arguably unconstitutional, because caps can infringe on the right to a legal remedy, trial by jury, and procedural fairness. However, the business community has argued that limits on pain and suffering damages are necessary to stimulate the economy and encourage business growth.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

Many people suffer needlessly at the hands of others. It is even more tragic if accident victims receive less compensation for their pain and suffering than the amount required by law. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you get what you deserve.

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Last Modified: 10-16-2015 11:20 AM PDT

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