Personal injury victims may wonder what compensation they are entitled to after a New Mexico auto accident.  After all, many people see large verdicts for hot coffee or other personal injuries and wonder how did a victim recover that figure–why that number. While juries can be unpredictable for sure, the reasoning behind the “hot coffee” verdict and other personal injury cases do have a formula and approach that was followed.  That formula is not necessary an algebraic formula, but there is a common theory or manner in which pain and suffering is calculated.  Our Albuquerque, New Mexico auto accident lawyers explain.


What is Pain and Suffering?

Pain and suffering is usually the most significant measure of “damages” in a personal injury trial.  “Damages” are the measure of relief that a person may be entitled to, which is compensatory in personal injury cases.  Sometimes other types of damages could be much higher than pain and suffering, particularly in lost wage or lost future earning cases, pain and suffering typically is the highest.

As the phrase implies, pain and suffering is the physical and mental anguish and agony suffered due to injuries.  This could be different in every person which is why testimony is generally required for a person to explain the pain.  Pain and suffering is usually broken down into past pain and suffering (date of injury to date of award) and future pain and suffering (date of award to date of expected life expectancy). 

How is Pain and Suffering Calculated?

Although there is no exact formula for pain and suffering, there are some predictors of what pain and suffering will be.  For instance in the “hot coffee” case, the jury awarded the plaintiff a fair amount for her medical bills and pain and suffering as compared to other victims with similar injuries ($200,000), but the jury also awarded what McDonald’s worldwide coffee profits were for two days.  That was $2.7 million dollars, hence why the plaintiff was awarded so much money.  That was not a random $2.7 million verdict, it was calculated by what McDonald’s would have earned by making their coffee and causing it to be so hot to burn people (at the time, McDonald’s offered unlimited coffee during your stay but admitted they “superheated” it to prevent people from having more than 1-2 cups while they were in the restaurant).

In Albuquerque, New Mexico auto accident cases, victims of crashes will have their injuries compared to what other victims of crashes with similar injuries recovered.  This comparison is made through attorney arguments to the Judge or the jury.  

For instance, if a victim received $100,000 for a broken arm, a victim with a broken arm in court will have his or her case compared to that $100,000 case.  The considerations may include the following:

  • Age of the plaintiffs;
  • Future limitations;
  • Future surgeries;
  • Ability to work;
  • Scars;
  • Disability the injury caused now and in the future;
  • Affect on dependents like spouses, parents, and children;
  • Damage to other tissues like nerves, vessels, and the like; and
  • Many other relevant factors.

Victims of Albuquerque, New Mexico Auto Accidents May be Entitled to Pain and Suffering with the Help of Our NM Auto Accident Lawyers

If you or a loved one suffered any personal injuries after an Albuquerque, New Mexico auto accident, please schedule a FREE appointment with our lawyers at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. by dialing (505) 883-5000.  We can help fight to protect your rights to compensation and damages after another person’s negligence harmed you.

We handle causes throughout New Mexico, including Las Cruces, Santa Fe, Roswell, Cuervo, Rio Rancho, Clovis, Farmington, Hobbs, Albuquerque where our office is located, and anywhere else throughout New Mexico.  Please call to schedule for FREE appointment by dialing (505) 883-5000 or contact us through our website’s easy to use and convenient contact box available here.