Petrarca and Petrarca Law Offices

Man sitting on a couch experiencing pain and suffering in Rhode Island

Pain And Suffering Compensation in Rhode Island

If you find yourself hurt due to another person’s negligence (such as in a Rhode Island car accident) physical injuries may only be part of your burden. Often, traumatic events could lead to lasting pain and suffering, emotional distress, or a permanent loss of your quality of life.

In cases like these, it may be possible to recover pain and suffering damages from an insurance claim or a lawsuit. Discover more information about these types of damages below, along with basic information on valuing a claim.

How do pain and suffering damages differ from physical damages?

In a personal injury suit or insurance claim, pain and suffering damages fall into two different categories:

  • Economic damages: Also called “special damages.” These damages come with a tangible price tag and include expenses such as medical bills, property damage, or lost wages.
  • Non-economic damages: Also called “general damages.” Non-economic damages cause more abstract or intangible impacts — such as emotional damage or loss of quality of life.

Pain and suffering examples

Pain and suffering can take on many different forms in your life. But in general, types of pain and suffering damages include:

  • Mental Suffering: When you suffer mental trauma from an incident, such as depression, PTSD, or anxiety.
  • Physical Pain: When your injury causes mild or severe discomfort or pain.
  • Loss of Quality of Life: When you can no longer enjoy activities or hobbies that you previously enjoyed before your injury. For example, an aching back that prevents you from playing sports.
  • Loss of companionship: When your injury affects your relationship with a loved one, such as a partner or child. Sometimes called “loss of consortium.”

It’s also possible for you to experience multiple types of these damages all at once. For example, If you suffer lasting back pain from a Rhode Island car accident, your mental state may be affected.

A pain and suffering measurement scale including how to measure emotional distress

Can you recover pain and suffering damages in Rhode Island?

Yes. In Rhode Island, it’s possible to receive compensation for these damages from Rhode Island personal injury cases.

However, it’s difficult t sue for non-economic damages, including pain and suffering, alone. Instead, non-economic damages are usually added to cases with economic damages.

How do you calculate pain and suffering damages?

Everyone’s personal injury case is different, and the amount that insurance companies or courtrooms award can vary widely. So, there is no standard “pain and suffering calculator.”

There are two basic methods used to calculate a rough estimate for pain and suffering compensation. These methods are:

The multiplier method:

With the multiplier method, you add all of your economic damages together (lost wages, medical bills, etc.) and multiply them by a set number — anywhere from 1.5 to 5.

For example, if your total economic damages are $15,000 and you multiply them by two and a half, your rough estimate for pain and suffering damages would be $37,500.

The per diem method:

Latin for “per day,” the per diem method adds a certain dollar amount together for each day that you’re injured to calculate the full amount. The base number is often your daily wage.

For example, if you previously made $200 a day at work, but your mental trauma caused you to miss 120 days of work, the rough estimate for pain and suffering damages would be $24,000.

Who decides pain and suffering compensation?

Typically, an insurance claims adjustor will calculate their own amount for pain and suffering damages. However, you and the insurance claims adjustor may have very different ideas about fair compensation.

You may need to go through multiple rounds of negotiation with your insurance company to reach what you believe is a fair amount — you can either negotiate on your own, or allow a RI personal injury lawyer to do it for you.

If you can’t come to an agreement through negotiations, you may find it in your best interest to file a personal injury lawsuit. If your case goes to court, then a judge or jury will make the decision.

To make their decision, a court will typically look at factors like:

  • The type and severity of your injury.
  • The totality or permanence of your injury.
  • Your age at the time the injury occurred.
  • How the injury affects your daily life.

They’ll also look at evidence to make their decision, which could include:

  • Medical records or statements from a doctor or mental health specialist.
  • Written or spoken statements from your family and friends.
  • Personal statements or diary entries.

Is there a cap for personal injury damages in Rhode Island?

No. Rhode Island currently doesn’t have a cap on pain and suffering compensation. Therefore, your award may be any amount the court deems fair, from a few hundred dollars to several thousand.

Or, you could walk away with nothing. That’s why it’s crucial that you work with a RI personal injury lawyer and begin compiling evidence for your claim early on.

What’s the RI statute of limitations for pain and suffering damages?

If you decide to sue for a Rhode Island personal injury claim that includes pain and suffering, you only have a set window of time to do so. It’s called the statute of limitations.

In Rhode Island, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is three years after the date of the incident.

While there are certain exceptions, the longer you wait, the more evidence could be lost to time. So, it may be more difficult to get compensation for your case without that crucial evidence.

A Rhode Island personal injury lawyer for your pain and suffering case

If you need help finding justice for your pain and suffering or emotional distress, Petrarca law is here to help.

We’ll be here for you during every step of your claims process: from gathering evidence for your claim to filing documents and saving you from a legal headache. If you need someone to stand up for your rights with an insurance company or in the courtroom, we’ll be here to support you. And we’ll do everything we can to help you get your life back on track.

Contact us for a free legal consultation today.