Whether it is a minor slip and fall or a severe car wreck that caused you injuries, you might end up facing not only overwhelming medical expenses, but intangible losses that are difficult to calculate. If you are having a difficult time moving around or are experiencing lingering pain from an accident, you may be entitled to noneconomic damages in addition to other types of monetary damages. Fortunately, even if you are partially at fault for your injuries, you can still bring a claim for damages in North Dakota. Read on to learn about pain and suffering damages and how they are calculated under the North Dakota laws.
What Are Pain and Suffering Damages?
The amount of damages you can recover depends on the type of your case and specific state laws. Damages are categorized into two different types: (1) economic and (2) noneconomic. Economic damages deal with a specific economic harm, such as loss of wages due to missed work, damage to your property, and medical expenses. On the other hand, noneconomic damages deal with the more intangible consequences of an injury, such as emotional distress, pain and suffering, and mental anguish.
North Dakota defines noneconomic damages as "pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, and other nonpecuniary damage." As a part of noneconomic damages under North Dakota law, pain and suffering damages refer to physical and mental distress.
Determining Costs of Pain and Suffering in North Dakota
There is no clear bright-line rule to calculate pain and suffering damages. Unlike economic damages, pain and suffering damages can be highly subjective. After all, it's often hard to put a price on the suffering you go through after an accident. In North Dakota, the jury or the judge makes separate findings for the amount of compensation for (1) past economic damages, (2) future economic damages, and (3) noneconomic damages.
Noneconomic damages less than $50,000
- You may claim a specific dollar amount [Section 32-03.2-07]
Noneconomic damages of $50,000 or more
- You must state generally as "a reasonable sum but not less than fifty thousand dollars" [Section 32-03.2-07]
In order to determine other identifiable costs, use FindLaw's Damages Estimate Worksheet to ensure you don't overlook other types of damages.
Limitations on Noneconomic Damages in North Dakota
If you are seeking noneconomic damages, you should know that there are certain limitations. "Statute of limitations" refer to the time limit to bring a lawsuit against a person who caused the injuries. "Damages caps" are laws that limit the amount of damages you can recover. Finally, "negligence standards" refer to rules that are applied when fault is shared among the parties involved in an accident. In any personal injury case, North Dakota applies the modified comparative negligence standard that allows you to recover damages reduced by the percentage of your fault as long as you weren't 50 percent or more at fault. Here is a summary of major limitations in North Dakota cases:
Statute of Limitations Damages Caps
- $500,000 for noneconomic damages arising out of a medical malpractice case [Section 32-42-02]
Modified Comparative Negligence Standard
- Damages recoverable only if you were less than 50 percent at fault [Section 32-03.2]
Note: State laws are always subject to change at any time, usually through the enactment of newly passed legislation but sometimes through higher court decisions and other means. You may want to contact a North Dakota personal injury attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Get a Free Claim Evaluation
If you have suffered some kind of physical or mental distress, you should seek to recover noneconomic damages. Because the calculation is very subjective, it's easy to underestimate the total amount of damages you seek. To find out about the best ways to get adequate compensation, get a free claim evaluation from an experienced attorney in North Dakota.
Contact a qualified attorney.