Can I sue for pain and suffering in New Jersey?
The short answer to the question, “can I sue for pain and suffering in New Jersey,” is yes! The rules regarding pain and suffering in New Jersey fall under personal injury law, therefore a lawyer that specializes in personal injury would be the best person to contact with specific questions regarding your case for pain and suffering damages. With that being said, let us dive into the basics regarding pain and suffering damages in New Jersey. To begin, we must first define pain and suffering in regards to legal matters. Pain and suffering refers to the physical pains and emotional anguish a person deals with following an accident or intentional harm by another person.
As you can imagine, it is hard to calculate and place monetary value on pain and suffering because it differs from person to person. Below, we will discuss the main factors considered when trying to define the dollar value of pain and suffering, limits on damages, and comparative fault rules in New Jersey. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will be able to better understand if suing for pain and suffering is your best option moving forward.
Physical Pain vs. Emotional Anguish
Physical pain refers to actual bodily injuries and sustained pain from those injuries. For example, if you were in a car accident and broke your femur, the pain from that injury in addition to the pain of healing and all other lasting pains will be considered as physical pain. Emotional pain and anguish is, arguably, harder to define. Depression, anxiety, loss of sleep, and other mental symptoms that have been triggered by an accident are factored into emotional anguish. Emotional pain can, often, impact our lives more long-term than physical pain. While physical injuries usually heal, emotional tolls and trauma can last a lifetime.
Defining Monetary Value
There are a few things that are generally considered when trying to define the monetary value of one’s pain: the extent to which the injured party’s daily routine is limited or altered, how much the injury impacts relationships at home and work, how much the injury impacts sleep or other lifestyle factors, and to what extent the injury will impact the party long-term.
Medical bills and surgery costs are frequently used as bench-marks for the monetary value of a physical injury. Again, emotional damages can be harder to calculate. However, as long as you have some evidence that the emotional pain you are experiencing was triggered by the event at hand and is thoroughly affecting your life, you should be able to negotiate a reasonable dollar value.
Comparative Fault and Damage Limits
Because pain and suffering is hard to define, there is potential for people to abuse their ability to obtain pain and suffering damages. To limit these abuses, comparative fault rules and damage limits have been enacted in many states. While damage limits do prevent scammers from wrongfully winning large award sums, they also limit the recovery available for people who are legitimately injured and suffering immensely. Luckily, most attempts to place limits on pain and suffering damages in New Jersey have been denied. New Jersey has, however, adopted the modified comparative fault rules. This means your degree of fault in the accident proportionately limits the amount of recovery money you can recieve. For example, if you are 45% at fault, you will receive much less recovery money than if you are 15% at fault. Furthermore, if you are more than 50% at fault, you cannot receive any recovery money. It is best to discuss your accident with a lawyer to come to an accurate degree of fault.
What’s the First Step?
If you have read this article and still believe you have a solid case, suing for pain and suffering damages may be the right next move for you. To begin this process, contact an attorney who specializes in personal injury matters. An attorney will help guide you through the complexities of a legal battle and assure you will receive the best possible outcome. David Kaplan, attorney at law, has the expertise and dedication to help you build a winning case. Throughout his 30+ year career, he has won over $10 million in verdicts for his clients. His passion for helping the everyday individual get the legal justice they deserve is unparalleled. For a free case evaluation, or to learn more, visit his website.