What Are Pain and Suffering Damages in Washington?

pain and suffering Washington state
If you’ve been injured in an accident in Washington state, you should be compensated for your pain and suffering. Learn how in this article.

Have you been injured in a car or motorcycle accident?  

Are you suffering from the pain of your accident through no fault of your own?

If so, you need to contact a qualified personal injury attorney right away. The right personal injury attorney can help you maximize the amount of money you recover in damages. After all, if you’re suffering as a result of someone else’s negligence, you deserve that money. 

If you’re wondering:

  • What is ‘pain and suffering’? 
  • Can you sue for ‘pain and suffering’? 
  • How is the compensation calculated? 

Follow along and learn about the laws surrounding ‘pain and suffering’ damages in Washington state.

Table of Contents

What qualifies as ‘pain and suffering’ in Washington state?

The state of Washington breaks down damages awarded to a victim in a personal injury case into two forms.

Economic damages are “objectively verifiable monetary losses” like medical expenses, the loss of earnings, and burial costs. 

Then, there are non-economic damages, which, as defined by the Revised Code of Washington, Section 4.56.250, are subjective non-monetary losses. 

‘Pain and suffering’ is a common non-economic damage, but there are many more, including:

  • Inconvenience
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of society and companionship
  • Disability or disfigurement
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of consortium (damages suffered by a spouse or family member)
  • Injury to reputation and humiliation
  • Destruction of the parent-child relationship
  • Loss of enjoyment in life

If you’ve experienced any of the above because of the negligence or intentional act of someone else, you could receive damages under Washington state law.

However, there are some limits to the damages you can receive for ‘pain and suffering.’

First, according to the Revised Code of Washington, Section 4.56.250, damages for ‘pain and suffering’ should not exceed the average annual wage of the defendant multiplied by 0.43 and their life expectancy.

Additionally, under the Revised Code of Washington, Section 4.424.190, there is a $5,000 cap on personal injury claims against the parents of a child who willfully and maliciously inflicted personal injury.

Finally, you might be interested in the statute of limitations for ‘pain and suffering’ cases in Washington state. Under the Revised Code of Washington, Sections 4.16.080, 7.72.060, 64.50.020, 4.16.350

  • The majority of personal injury cases are allowable for up to three years from the date of the injury.
  • Medical malpractice cases are also generally allowable up to three years from the injury.  However, if the injury could not have reasonably been discovered within three years, then a claim can be brought within one year of discovery.  Despite this, under any circumstance, a medical malpractice claim must be brought within eight years from the date of injury.
  • For product defect claims, the statute of limitations is 12 years from the date the product was delivered.

Many moving factors that qualify ‘pain and suffering.’ Contact a personal injury lawyer to navigate and resolve your particular situation.

What if you are partially at-fault for your injuries?

In the state of Washington, you can still recover damages for your ‘pain and suffering’ even if you are partially at fault in an accident.

Under the “pure comparative negligence” rules laid out in the Revised Code of Washington, Section 4.22.005, any fault contributable to the claimant in a personal injury case reduces the amount awarded as compensation for damages but does not prevent recovery of damages.

What does this mean for you in layman terms? 

If you are found to be 40% at fault for the accident, you could still receive up to 60% of the damages a jury awards. Even if you are found to be 90% responsible for the accident, you may still recover damages. 

How is ‘pain and suffering’ compensation calculated?

There is no specific formula used by the courts to determine damages for ‘pain and suffering.’ However, there are a few criteria to consider to determine what kind of damages the jury might award you in your specific case.

First, sometimes a multiplier method is used where the dollar amount of medical expenses you have incurred is multiplied by a factor (usually between three and seven) to account for ‘pain and suffering.’ 

More commonly, several factors are taken into account when accessing damages, including the severity of your pain and how your pain impacts your life or the ability to do the things you love.

For example, if you are a guitar teacher whose passion is playing the guitar and you hurt your fingers in an accident, the monetary amount of damages you could receive would be high because of the impact on your life. 

On the other hand, if your passion is computer programming and you break your foot, it could be harder to convince a jury of the impact the pain and suffering are having on your life.

How to get compensation for your ‘pain and suffering.’

No matter how severe, if you’ve experienced ‘pain and suffering’ because of someone else’s negligence, it’s time to hire an experienced personal injury attorney.

The right personal injury attorney can help maximize your recovery amount and get you the peace of mind you deserve. 

In the state of Washington, Will & Will are the top personal injury attorneys for pain and suffering cases. So, if you’re looking to get more out of your ‘pain and suffering’ claim, call for a consultation today.

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