When you get injured and subsequently start preparing a civil claim for something like a car accident, slip and fall, or injury from a dangerous product, a good deal of thought goes into what you ask for in damages. Sure, you can get compensation for medical expenses, property damage, and lost income, but what about things that can’t have their value demonstrated with a piece of paper? Can you really put a price on chronic pain or the sadness of knowing you will not be able to participate in recreational activities you enjoy? Courts understand that they cannot wave a magic wand and undo these things, so they offer financial damages as a way to try and offset this “pain and suffering.”

Some states have caps on pain and suffering, but in most circumstances, New Jersey does not. If you can justify the damages you seek, you can request and be awarded it. However, for matters where the defendant is a public entity, there are caps placed on the pain and suffering damages you can be awarded.

If you need assistance, do not hesitate to call Legal Care New Jersey’s New Jersey personal injury lawyers at (732) 838-9769.

Are There Limits on Pain and Suffering Damages in New Jersey?

Generally, there are no limits on the pain and suffering damages you can get from your lawsuit in New Jersey. If you ask for a number of damages for pain and suffering, you can back up that claim with evidence and testimony, and the jury is sufficiently persuaded, you can be awarded as much as you asked for – or even more if the jury believes it is warranted.

However, there are limits on pain and suffering damages for lawsuits against “public entities” pursuant to N.J.S.A. § 59:9-2(d). “Public entities” generally refers to state and municipal government entities. Still, that provision only applies to some of those cases. In fact, the general rule is that damages for pain and suffering are not permitted in these lawsuits. The statute goes on to explain that in cases where the plaintiff has “permanent loss of a bodily function,” is disfigured, suffered dismemberment, or has medical expenses greater than $3,600,

Factors that Can Influence Pain and Suffering Damages in New Jersey

Damages for pain and suffering can vary wildly from case to case. This is because, unlike the cost of medication or a standardized medical procedure, everyone experiences the intangible effects of their accident differently. Some will “take it well” and be able to move on with their life, while others can have seriously detrimental effects that they will deal with for as long as they live. Below, our New Jersey personal injury lawyers have detailed some of the things that can influence what you request in damages for pain and suffering in your claim.

The Duration of Your Pain and Suffering

One thing that can have a major influence on what you request in damages for pain and suffering is the duration of that pain. For example, if you had an arm broken in your accident and were in great pain throughout your hospital stay, you may not be able to request as much as someone who broke their arm and continues to have chronic, debilitating pain months after they have “healed.” If your injuries have permanent lingering effects, you can get a substantial amount of compensation, but know that courts cannot give you infinite damages no matter how permanent an injury is.

The Intensity and Frequency of Your Pain and Suffering

Another thing that contributes to how much you can ask for in damages is the intensity of the pain you experience and how frequent it is. For example, if you have dull aches every few days after being in a car crash, you will likely be awarded less in damages than if you experience sharp pain that temporarily incapacitates you every day.

Loss of Bodily Functions

Losing the ability to do what you were able to do before getting hurt can have an impact on what you are awarded for pain and suffering. For example, if you were a very active person who did a lot of athletic activities, and your injuries prevent you from doing those things, that can factor into your pain and suffering damages.

More importantly, if you lose the function of some body parts because of your injuries, the damages you get based on pain and suffering will likely go up. This could include losing some or all of the mobility in an arm or leg, and it also covers instances where the victim had to undergo amputation because of their injuries.

Mental Toll of the Accident

Not all injuries are physical. Sometimes, the mental burden of being in a traumatic incident is just as bad as the physical ailments. Many times, mental scars remain even after the plaintiff has made a full physical recovery. Sometimes, this can result in the diagnosis of a condition such as post-traumatic stress disorder. In some cases, the mental burden of going through an incident over and over can make it impossible to get basic tasks done on certain days.

Although it helps a great deal, you do not need to be diagnosed with a specific condition to get damages for mental anguish. If you can prove that the accident you were involved in has had a significant effect on your life, you can get increased pain and suffering damages due to the mental effects of the accident.

Do Not Wait to Call Our New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyers

Get a free analysis of your claim from Legal Care New Jersey’s Jersey City, NJ personal injury lawyers by calling our office at (732) 838-9769.