WHAT IS PAIN AND SUFFERING?
Personal Injury Damages in Massachusetts
Pain and suffering are often discussed in the context of car accidents and other type of personal injury claims. You hear this term a lot, but do you really know what it means? What types of personal injury damages fall under the heading of “pain and suffering?”
It helps to start with the basics. Personal injury damages are grouped into two types: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages include things that come with a definite number, such as medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. If you visited an emergency room after your accident, you almost certainly got a bill for it. That bill tells you exactly how much your ER trip cost. Because it has a definite number attached to it, the cost of treating your injures in the ER is an economic damage.
By contrast, non-economic damages are not so easy to calculate. Unlike economic damages, they do not include cold, hard numbers or convenient billing statements. Despite this difference, non-economic damages are very real and very costly. When you are hurt in an accident, you experience things like mental anguish, stress, and loss of enjoyment of life. Your spouse might also suffer when your injuries prevent you from doing all the things you did before the accident.
These types of damages also depend greatly on the injured person’s lifestyle and unique characteristics. For example, an avid hiker who gets hurt and is no longer able to hike will experience the loss of his or her hiking ability differently than someone with different hobbies. Putting a price on these damages requires skill and experience, which is why it is critical to work with attorneys who know personal injury and how to handle these types of cases.
Car Accidents: The Pain and Suffering Threshold in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, car accident injury victims must show that they have suffered at least $2,000 in economic damages before they can make a claim for damages related to pain and suffering. Under this rule, you could have $1,999 worth of medical bills and still not qualify for pain and suffering damages. There are, however, important exceptions to this threshold. Certain types of injuries qualify for pain and suffering damages regardless of the economic damages associated with them. These injuries include:
- Permanent, serious disfigurement
- Loss of hearing or sight
- Partial or total dismemberment
Massachusetts Personal Injury Law Firm
Some personal injury defense lawyers make an entire career out of attempting to show that an injury victim’s medical expenses are unreasonable and therefore should not count toward the $2,000 pain and suffering threshold. This is why it is important to work closely with a knowledgeable personal injury plaintiffs’ lawyer. Accidents can change your life forever. You deserve to be compensated for all of your injuries, including the ones that cause mental and emotional pain. Call the attorneys at Joel H. Schwartz, P.C. at 617-742-1170 to discuss your case.
This website has been prepared by Joel H. Schwartz, P.C. for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.