In addition to objective economic losses, it is also possible in many situations to demand compensation for subjective non-economic losses when filing suit over a serious personal injury. However, the exact value of the latter type of damages—and even your ability to demand compensation for them in the first place—can change dramatically from case to case depending on exactly how you were injured and the effects your injury will have on you in both the short and long term.
Suing for pain and suffering in Missouri works similarly to suing for specific financial expenses in some ways and extremely differently in others. While there is no substitute for a trusted personal injury lawyer’s guidance when it comes to maximizing recovery for these kinds of losses, below is a brief overview of how they typically factor into a personal injury claim and what factors may affect their overall value.
What Is “Pain and Suffering” in the Context of Civil Litigation?
In Missouri personal injury lawsuits, pain and suffering is actually a fairly broad term used as shorthand for various types of harm that do not have objective financial values. For comparison, “economic” damages like medical bills, lost work income, and personal property damage all have specific monetary values, which can be proven through things like:
- Pay stubs
- Valuations by qualified experts
Physical pain and discomfort stemming directly from a serious injury is one of the primary types of “non-economic” harm that can be factored into a personal injury lawsuit or settlement demand. Other forms of “pain and suffering” that a personal injury attorney can potentially help incorporate into a comprehensive claim include:
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment/overall quality of life
- Loss of consortium with a spouse or intimate partner
- The emotional impact of permanent disability or disfigurement
- Psychological distress, including symptoms of mental health disorders like depression or PTSD
Unlike some states, Missouri does not artificially limit—or cap—the maximum amount of money that an injured person can demand for non-economic damages, which is beneficial for plaintiffs trying to recover fairly for long-term harm.
Estimating the Value of Non-Economic Damages
In many cases, non-economic pain and suffering represents a larger portion of the compensation demanded by an injured plaintiff than all their economic damages combined. However, because pain and suffering is inherently subjective, there are numerous ways to assign a fair financial value to this kind of harm—and not every person involved will agree on the most appropriate method.
For example, many insurance companies have in-house computer programs designed to calculate the value of physical pain and psychological distress based on various factors, which they rarely share with people pursuing settlements. Personal injury attorneys, on the other hand, may advise:
- Multiplying the sum total of economic damages by a certain number to represent all non-economic damages; or
- Assigning a value to an average day’s pain and suffering and then multiplying that by the number of days that suffering will last; or
- Estimating based on what other plaintiffs have received for similar losses in the past.
Our Attorneys Can Help You Sue for Pain and Suffering in Missouri
The only truly consistent element of suing for pain and suffering in Missouri is that having help from experienced legal counsel is essential to establish how much money you should receive for losses. Call OnderLaw today to speak with a compassionate and reliable lawyer about your case. We are here to help you take legal action and pursue the fair compensation you need to live a comfortable life.