If you are a Washington resident who was injured in an accident or as the result of medical or other malpractice, you may be thinking about filing a personal injury lawsuit against the person responsible for your injuries. As FindLaw explains, in Washington you can recover not only your economic damages, but also your noneconomic damages for pain and suffering.
Pain and suffering are subjective, not objective. Nevertheless, they are very real. Consequently, damages for pain and suffering are the law’s attempt to compensate you for subjective losses such as the following that you have suffered:
- Any disfigurement or disability resulting from your injury
- Any mental anguish and/or emotional distress you are suffering as a result of your injury
- Any loss of consortium resulting from your injury, such as your inability to have sexual relations with your spouse
- Any humiliation or damage to your reputation you are suffering from because of your injury
Determining damage amounts
Washington law puts a cap on the amount of pain and suffering damages you can recover. This amount is calculated by multiplying your remaining life expectancy by your average yearly wage or salary and then by 0.43. For instance, if your remaining life expectancy is 20 years and you currently are earning $50,000 per year, the maximum amount you could recover for pain and suffering is $430,000.
You should also be aware that Washington is a “pure comparative fault” state. If you were partly responsible for your injuries, any award a jury gives you will be reduced by the amount of your fault percentage.
You must bring your personal injury lawsuit, including its claim for pain and suffering, within three years of the date on which your injuries occurred. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule depending on the precise circumstances of how and where your injuries occurred. This is general information only and is not intended to provide legal advice.