How is Pain & Suffering Determined in Minnesota?

In the aftermath of a personal injury, many victims are left wondering what type of compensation they are entitled to. If you or someone you love has been injured due to the careless or negligent actions of another person, you could be entitled to various types of compensation, including pain and suffering damages. In the aftermath of a personal injury, pain and suffering damages can be hard to calculate. While damages like medical expenses and lost income are fairly easy to calculate, pain and suffering are not easily quantifiable.

Calculating pain and suffering damages?

There are various things that can be considered “pain and suffering” after an accident. This can include a person’s:

  • Mental or physical pain and suffering
  • Loss of companionship with a significant other
  • Loss of consortium of a spouse
  • Inconvenience
  • Scarring
  • Disfigurement
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

There are no strict rules for determining a dollar amount for pain and suffering damages. In some cases, pain and suffering are calculated by taking the total amount of economic damages (medical expenses, lost wages, etc.) and multiplying that number by three. For example, a person who sustains $5,000 in medical bills and lost income may ask for $15,000 in pain and suffering damages.

Another method that could be used is called the per diem approach. Using this method to calculate pain and suffering, an attorney may attach a certain dollar amount to each day after an accident until the plaintiff has reached maximum recovery. For example, an attorney could ask for $100 per day. If a person does not reach full recover for 300 days, they would ask for $30,000 in pain and suffering damages.

Proving these injuries can be complicated, and an attorney may use various forms of evidence to support your claim. For example, your attorney could use:

  • Personal journals
  • Statements from family and friends about how the injury has affected your life
  • Proof of treatment by a mental health professional if a plaintiff is claiming injuries such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, or insomnia

Serious injuries are much more likely to see the plaintiff receive pain and suffering damages, and a skilled attorney will be able to prove the extent of your damages.

Are there caps on pain and suffering damages in Minnesota?

Minnesota does not have any caps (limits) on how much a person can be awarded for pain and suffering after an incident. It should be noted that a person cannot generally recover pain and suffering damages following a work injury. Workers’ compensation covers a person’s medical expenses and partial income lost due to the injury.

What is the statute of limitations for these damages?

In Minnesota, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the date the injury occurs.

What if you are partially at-fault for the incident?

Minnesota uses a modified comparative negligence system. This means that a person who 50% or more at fault for their own injuries is barred from recovering any damages in the incident. If you were determined to be less than 50% at fault, your damages will be reduced based on your percentage of fault. For example, if you are awarded $10,000 in damages but deemed to be 20% at fault for the incident, you will only receive $8,000 in damages.