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What Non-Economic Damages Can Be Recovered for a New York Car Accident?


If you sustained injuries in a car accident, you may have incurred a significant amount of monetary damages, including unreimbursed medical expenses, time lost from work, and out-of-pocket costs. However, you may also have suffered damages that are more significant and sometimes difficult to quantify — the physical pain and mental anguish you experienced due to the accident. New York law allows financial recovery for various non-economic damages in personal injury actions to compensate car accident victims for the impact their injuries have on different aspects of their daily life.

Pain and Suffering

Car accident victims often endure a significant amount of pain and suffering due to their accident-related injuries — both mentally and physically. Pain and suffering damages may be awarded in a personal injury action to compensate you for the actual physical and emotional pain you feel on a daily basis. 

Pain and suffering damages are specific to each case and can be a substantial portion of the recovery in a personal injury action — they can also be the most challenging to prove. Typically, they are demonstrated through:

  • Testimony of the accident victim
  • Testimony of family members
  • Medical records
  • Mental health treatment records
  • Photographs or video

A court may consider facts surrounding how the injuries affect your relationships with family members, participation in your daily activities, and how long your recovery period will be. Loss of enjoyment of life will also be considered as a factor in assessing pain and suffering damages.

Emotional Distress

The mental pain and distress of a car accident and its aftermath can take a significant toll on an accident victim. As part of the pain and suffering award, a court may consider the psychological impact of the accident, including the embarrassment and humiliation you suffered as a result of your injuries, and other mental harm caused by the accident such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and loss of sleep.

Loss of Consortium

New York law recognizes that a victim’s catastrophic car accident injuries may also affect their spouse. A claim for damages for loss of consortium can address the impact the accident had on the marital relationship, including loss of household services, and loss of financial support.

In determining the value of a claim for loss of consortium, a court may consider several factors, including the injured spouse’s contribution to chores and tasks, the earning potential they had prior to the accident, and the non-injured spouse’s loss of companionship.  

Disfigurement and Permanent Disability

Scars and disfigurement can result in the need for extensive medical treatment or plastic surgery, and cause a significant amount of physical discomfort and mental distress. If your car accident caused you to suffer injuries that resulted in disfigurement to any part of your body, you may be entitled to compensation as part of your pain and suffering award. 

Additionally, you may also be compensated for the emotional impact a permanent disability can have on your daily life and the restrictions or limitations it causes. 

Calculating Damages for Pain and Suffering

There are two ways pain and suffering damages can be calculated in a personal injury action in New York. One way is by using the multiplier method, which considers the total amount of economic damages multiplied by a number between 1.5 and 5, depending on the severity of the injuries. Pain and suffering damages can also be calculated using the per diem method, which applies a certain monetary amount for each day you suffered pain since the date of the accident. 

There is no cap in New York on the amount of recoverable damages for pain and suffering. 

Contact an Experienced New York Car Accident Attorney

If you sustained injuries in a car accident that adversely affect your everyday life, you may be entitled to compensation for your non-economic damages. It is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible as there are statutes of limitation that begin running from the accident date. The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. can help you recover the maximum compensation you deserve for the pain and suffering you experienced as a result of another’s negligence. 

The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has convenient office locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx as well as mobile locations serving Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester, Rockland County, Nassau County, and Suffolk County. Contact us for a consultation.