Someone else hurt you in a preventable accident. You may know that you can recover compensatory damages, such as expenses associated with medical bills and lost wages you incurred; however, you might not be aware that you may be entitled to compensation for noneconomic damages like pain and suffering, too. So, how is pain and suffering calculated in Kentucky? We’ll tackle this below.
Methods for Calculating Pain and Suffering in Kentucky
Kentucky personal injury lawyers generally use one of two different methods when calculating how much to demand from insurers for their clients’ pain and suffering. We use one of the following two approaches:
- The per diem method: This involves the multiplication of a daily rate, which equates to how much you lose each day because you’re emotionally or physically unwell, by the number of days accident-related pain and suffering affected you. As an example, if your per diem is $150 and you missed 30 days from work, you would be entitled to $4,500 in compensation for your pain and suffering.
- The multiplier method: Your attorney compiles all economic expenses, and more specifically, medical costs you’ve already incurred and expect to incur in the future, and multiplies that total by a factor between one and five depending on how severe your pain and suffering and other related losses are in reaching the amount of compensation you deserve. So, as an example, if your outstanding medical bills total $30,000 and you’re expected to require a forecasted $15,000 in care in the future, that adds up to $45,000. The severity of the pain and suffering you endured is assigned a factor of three. If you multiply $45,000 by 3, you get $135,000.
Does Kentucky Apply Caps on Noneconomic Damages Like Pain and Suffering?
The Bluegrass State has a constitutional provision in place that generally does not limit how much injury victims can recover by filing car accident claims or any type of personal injury lawsuit, for that matter. However, there are some factors applicable to certain types of cases that may affect how much certain individuals can recover. Let us explain.
Potential Financial Recovery Limits in Auto Accident Cases
When it comes to motor vehicle collisions, for example, certain factors may limit how much crash victims can recover from their losses.
For starters, Kentucky is a no-fault auto accident state, which generally means crash victims must file a claim with their own insurance to recover compensation for their accident-related losses. Usually, hurt individuals can only file a claim with or sue the person who struck them if their losses exceed their own policy limits.
Additionally, if injuries are significant enough that they exceed your policy limits (which attorneys refer to as “tendering a policy”) and you must file a claim with the party who struck you, you should know that there are per-accident payouts insurers make. For example, Kentucky’s mandatory minimum insurance requirements include motorists having liability coverage as follows: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for bodily injury damages sustained.
Of course, motorists can purchase coverage with higher limits, but provided they do not, your entire recovery amount could be capped at whatever your own insurance policy limits are (personal injury protection [PIP] coverage is generally $10,000), plus $25,000 if you were hurt in a crash and you were carrying someone else in your vehicle who also suffered serious injuries.
Our state also subscribes to a pure comparative negligence doctrine, which limits how much injury victims can recover post-crash. The amount they are entitled to receive is reduced by their percentage of fault for the wreck. So, if the injured car crash victim was 30% responsible for what happened, then they’d only be eligible to receive at most 70% of their losses if they had a successful case. Thus, as you can probably imagine, both the no-fault system and the pure comparative negligence rule could significantly reduce the compensation a car crash victim would be eligible for.
Recovering Compensation for Pain and Suffering When the Defendant Is a Government Agency
Outside of that, any person who claims to have suffered personal injuries should know that different rules apply if government entities are the wrongdoers or defendants. If you are pursuing compensation from the city of Lexington, you would do so by filing a claim with the Attorneys in the Department of Law with the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. And if the matter involved state government personnel, you’d file the claim with the Kentucky Claims Commission.
Now, claims naming public entities (the government) are capped in Kentucky as follows: $200,000 per claim and $350,000 for all claims associated with that single injury incident (so for all parties hurt). However, the Office of Claims and Appeals Board of Claims Claim Form explicitly states how no claims are granted for pain and suffering, among other things. So, your ability to recover these noneconomic damages may be limited if the defendant in your case is a government agency.
Additional Factors Affecting Pain and Suffering Monetary Awards in Kentucky
Pain and suffering damages are reserved for individuals who have sustained catastrophic injuries. Thus, our state’s statutes are clear about you needing to have accumulated at least $1,000 in medical expenses to be eligible to request to be compensated for pain and suffering.
And, since it’s likely that if you’ve suffered serious injuries, you may have needed to miss work or receive disability payments, it’s important to know that your financial recovery amount may be reduced by any payments like those that you receive.
Help in Claiming Compensation for Pain and Suffering if You’re Hurt
As you can probably tell, there are many ins and outs associated with filing a claim for compensation after an injury or accident. Making the wrong move, such as not filing within our state’s statute of limitations, can affect your ability to secure the maximum award you deserve. This is exactly why you need the experienced assistance of a personal injury attorney like ours at Peterson Law Office.
Our attorneys have been serving the needs of individuals severely hurt due to others’ negligence for decades. Beginning with your initial consultation, we will let you know how to best document the pain and suffering you’ve endured and are continuing to do so. And, when it comes time to wrap up your case and present it to an insurance adjuster or responsible party, you can count on us to calculate your pain and suffering accurately so that you receive a just and fair settlement. So, please contact us for a free case review with no strings attached to explore your legal options.