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What is Pain and Suffering Reimbursement?

You’ve been victimized in an accident. You have medical bills and some lost wages from time off work, and it’s clear the insurance company for the other party will pick up those exact costs.

But what about the fact that your injuries have forced you to retire from the softball league at Rice and Arlington Sports Complex that you have enjoyed with your best friends for 15 years? Or that you can’t even hike through Trout Brook Nature Sanctuary with your children without significant discomfort? How can you put a cost on those lost experiences?

Pain and suffering reimbursement is the answer. It is the money to be paid to you for your mental and emotional injuries as the result of another party’s negligence. An insurance company will offer pain and suffering reimbursement, but if you feel it is not adequate, you might consider filing a personal injury lawsuit.

When you are wronged, two types of compensation are available:

  • Special compensatory damages are related to specific lost dollar amounts. Your medical bills and lost wages associated with the event are two primary examples of special compensatory damages. They can be calculated to the penny in many instances.
  • General compensatory damages, which include pain and suffering, are more subjective. A judge or jury establishes a value for the mental and emotional damages caused by the incident. The trauma of missing an extended period of work, or the emotional toll of living with a permanent scar or limp, are two examples of pain and suffering.

Many factors go into the amount of money an insurance company will offer — or a jury will award — for pain and suffering. The seriousness of your injuries and the history of jury verdicts in Minnesota are two such factors. Often a multiple of between 1 and 5 times the amount of your special compensatory damages is used, but every case is unique and occasionally the multiplier can climb higher. It helps to document every aspect of your life that could have been impacted by the incident. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Sand Law can help you understand the options available to you.

Comparative negligence and no-fault auto

Minnesota relies on modified comparative negligence when determining compensation stemming from a personal injury event. It means there is an effort to establish the percentage of responsibility each party bears in an incident. For example, if your total reimbursement could be $50,000, but you are found to be 20 percent at fault for the incident, you will receive only $40,000.

Auto accidents fall into a different category. Minnesota is a “no-fault” state, which means victims of auto accidents cannot sue unless they have at least $4,000 in medical expenses or some type of disability for at least 60 days.

Other situations, such as wrongful death or worker’s compensation, have their own unique circumstances for pain and suffering reimbursement.