Personal injuries can result in a variety of physical, emotional and financial losses.
Under Hawaii tort law, the plaintiff in a personal injury case can sue for those losses, including pain and suffering, a form of non-economic damages.
Definition of pain and suffering under Hawaii law
Examples of pain and suffering in a personal injury case include:
- Emotional distress
- Physical pain
- Loss of the ability to enjoy life
- Anxiety or depression
- Mental anguish
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Any form of psychological affliction deemed a direct outcome of the accident and resulting injuries is potentially a form of non-economic damages.
Proving pain and suffering
As the plaintiff, the burden of proving pain and suffering falls on you. You can use a pain journal or provide a written statement. You can also use notes from your doctor and statements from people close to you.
Calculating pain and suffering
Every personal injury case has unique circumstances, and the court may use different methods to calculate the compensation you receive. The two typical ways insurance companies determine a monetary value for pain and suffering include:
- Using a multiplier. They will calculate your total economic damages, such as the cost of medical care and lost wages, and multiply that number by a number between 1.5 and five. The higher the multiplier, the more severe the injuries.
- Per diem method. The per diem method requires calculating the financial losses of a single day, such as the lost income from missed work, and multiple that by the number of days the plaintiff suffered psychologically and physically.
In Hawaii, there is a $375,000 cap on pain and suffering compensation, but the specific circumstances of your case could change that.