Calculating the Value of Pain and Suffering in a Person Injury
Persons injured in Kootenai County or elsewhere in Idaho are entitled to ask the jury for monetary damages for past and future medical bills and past and future loss of income. However, a person injured in a car crash or some other injury caused by the negligence of others, is also entitled to ask that the jury award monetary damages for the pain and suffering caused by the negligence.
The Elements of Pain and Suffering
The Idaho Supreme Court has approved the following jury instruction for these so-called non-economic damages. The jury is to consider the following in arriving at a monetary amount to compensate the injured person for these damages.
- Non-economic damages
- The nature of the injuries;
- The physical and mental pain and suffering, past and future;
- The impairment of abilities to perform usual activities;
- The disfigurement caused by the injuries;
- The aggravation caused to any preexisting condition.
Many jurors are skeptical of awarding damages for pain and suffering. However, consider the following scenario. John Smith is in a car crash, and the only serious injury he sustains is blindness caused by his head going through the windshield. Because he is now permanently bind, he will require no future medical treatment, and his past medical bills may be little more than the initial brief hospitalization while all efforts were made to save his vision. Assume the hospital bills total $10,000. It is obvious that it would be an extreme injustice for a jury to award merely $10,000 to an innocent person who is blinded for life due to someone’s negligent driving. Although this is an extreme example, there are many instances in which the amount of medical bills do not truly reflect the gravity of the permanent injury sustained by a person injured due to someone’s negligence. Careful jurors will give serious and separate consideration to the past and future losses and harms sustained by the victim of someone’s negligence, and will award monetary damages consistent with the gravity of those losses, regardless of the amount of medical bills incurred. If you have been injured in a car crash or due to some other form of negligence in Idaho or Washington, call attorney James Bendell for a free consultation about your case.