Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorneys

If you’ve been in a car accident, you may feel like your life will never be the same. If the accident was caused by the negligence of another party, you probably know that you can sue for “special damages.” These include medical expenses, lost wages, and damage to your car. What you may not know is that you can also sue for non-economic damages, also referred to as “general damages” or “pain and suffering.” These cover the damages that may not be visible to others but significantly detract from your quality of life.

Pain and Suffering After a Car Accident

(Vika Glitter/pexels)

Here are a couple of scenarios that could merit a “pain and suffering” claim:

  1. Jan was diagnosed with PTSD after her car accident. Every time she gets behind the wheel, she has a panic attack. As hard as she tries to focus throughout the day, her mind is constantly reliving the crash. This makes it hard for her to concentrate at work, and she has already been given a warning that her performance needs to improve.
  2. Bill became paralyzed from the waist down after his car wreck. The physical wounds are obvious, but that’s only part of it. He was a carpenter for 20 years, but he can’t do that now. He misses the sense of fulfillment that came from the work. Things are rough on the homefront, too. He can no longer enjoy the same kind of intimacy with his wife, which has strained their relationship. While he hopes to find a way to enjoy life again, every day feels hard and hopeless.

What Non-Economic Damages Can I Sue For?

The general damages we described above are every bit as real as a totaled car and an injured body. These non-economic damages can include the following:


Economic damages can cover your medical bills, but what about the pain that persists long after the immediate wounds have healed? What if you have chronic back pain? Or pain from nerve damage after a burn? Is it fair that you have to deal with daily pain due to a car wreck you didn’t cause?


Non-economic damages aren’t limited to physical pain. Depression, anxiety, PTSD—these can cause just as much suffering, and sometimes even more, than physical pain. Emotional distress can also lead to other downstream issues, like insomnia, that only serve to worsen your physical and emotional well-being.


Injuries that leave you disfigured include burns, loss of limbs, blindness, and paralysis. These bring lingering effects, both physical and emotional, that can completely upend your life.

Loss of Consortium

This refers to a loss of comfort and companionship, usually within family relations. If you can’t play with or care for your kids like you used to or have intimate relations with your spouse, your injury has robbed you of the consortium that you valued before your accident.

Enjoyment of Life

“Pursuit of happiness” is considered an inalienable right, but the results of an accident injury can make it hard to enjoy life. All the things you once loved may hold little to no appeal anymore, no matter how hard you try to put your heart into them.

How Do I Sue for Pain and Suffering?

Personal injury cases are decided on the basis of evidence. You’ll need to provide enough evidence to show that your pain and suffering are connected to your injury accident and that they significantly decrease your quality of life.

Evidence might include:

  • Medical records. These records should include diagnoses of physical and mental injuries triggered by the car accident. They should also document the treatment for your injuries (as administered by doctors, physical therapists, mental health professionals, etc.).
  • Journal. The more you can get in writing, the better. Start with the details of the accident; the farther you get from it, the more your memory will fade if you don’t lock it down in writing. Keep track of your symptoms and how they improve or worsen over time.
  • Testimony of others (friends, family, co-workers, and health professionals). These testimonies can be particularly helpful if they can compare how you have changed from before the accident to after.
  • Photos and videos. Any kind of before and after photo or video can help. For example, if you are working with a physical therapist after losing mobility due to an injury, you could have someone take a video showing how challenging it is for you to get around. (Just make sure your physical therapist agrees to be videotaped.)
  • Texts and emails. These digital communications to friends, work associates, or specialists can show how your condition changed/worsened over time and the efforts you made to get help.

How Much is Pain and Suffering Worth?

Pain and suffering from a car accident can be calculated in two ways:

1. Multiplier Method

This method starts with the dollar amount for compensatory damages (such as medical bills, lost wages, and car repair or replacement). This dollar amount is then multiplied by a number between 1 and 5. This “multiplier” is determined by the duration and severity of the pain and suffering. In general, physical injuries that can be proven with medical tests are assigned a higher multiplier than less objective injuries (such as depression).

To illustrate the multiplier method, let’s say Jan’s car accident (mentioned earlier in the article) saddled her with car repair bills, medical bills, and lost wages equal to $30,000. If she is given a multiplier of 3 for her PTSD, her total award would equal $90,000.

2. Per Diem Method

Per diem means “per day.” With the per diem method, you assign a dollar amount to your daily pain and suffering. If Jan’s PTSD significantly affected her quality of life for 90 days, she might ask for $100 per day for a total of $9,000. This would be added to the compensatory damages of $30,000 for a total award of $39,000.

Is There a Cap for Pain and Suffering Compensation?

There is no cap for pain and suffering compensation in the state of Nevada, except in the case of medical malpractice. Pain and suffering awards for medical malpractice cases are capped at $430,000.

Damages from a car accident often go far beyond what can be seen on the outside, but these damages are every bit as real. If you are carrying the burden of pain and suffering after a car wreck caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to additional compensation. It won’t undo the damage. However, it can help remove the financial stresses caused by the accident and enable you to get the resources you need to recover from all injuries–including the ones not easily seen by others.

If you’re wondering if you are eligible for pain and suffering damages, Tingey Injury Law Firm can help. Our car accident attorneys have been serving Las Vegas, Henderson, Summerlin, and the surrounding areas for more than 50 years and have helped countless car accident victims get the full compensation that they deserve.