Wyoming may be the least populated state in the country, but those who live here love its wide open spaces and scenic treasures like Yellowstone and the Big Horn Mountains. While Wyomingites pride themselves on being tough and neighborly, they're not immune to accidents and injuries. If you've been injured in Wyoming you'll want to learn about damages for pain and suffering, a legal term for the physical and emotional distress caused by a physical injury.
The table below outlines important parts of Wyoming's laws relevant to damages for pain and suffering, including damage limits and deadlines for filing claims.
|Statute of Limitations||
4 years for personal injury (Sec. 1-3-105(a)(iv)(B)); 2 years for medical malpractice & for notice of a claim against government entities (Sec's. 1-3-107 & 1-39-113)
|Limits on Damages||Damage caps generally prohibited by state constitution (Art. 10, Sec. 4(a)); $250,000 cap on some claims against government entities (Sec. 1-39-118(i))|
|Other Limits||Comparative negligence rule may prohibit or reduce recovery of any damages (Sec. 1-1-109(b))|
What Kinds of Damages Are Available?
Accidents in Wyoming often result in at least two kinds of damages: economic (or "special") and non-economic (or "general"). Economic damages are the monetary expenses of an accident, like medical bills and lost wages, and are easier to quantify. Non-economic damages refer to the more abstract costs of an injury, including physical and emotional pain and suffering.
The Value of Pain and Suffering
It is inherently difficult to measure the damages for pain and suffering because each person experiences pain and suffering differently. Furthermore, courts often give juries very little guidance for quantifying these awards. However, attorneys and juries sometimes use relevant factors to assign value to these kinds of damages.
Factors courts sometimes consider in measuring damages for pain and suffering include:
In arguing for certain amounts of damages, some attorneys also use a "multiplier method" where the attorney multiplies the economic damages by a certain number, usually between one and five. For example, if the plaintiff was moderately injured and suffered $50,000 in lost wages, an attorney might argue that the plaintiff should be awarded three times that amount ($150,000) for pain and suffering.
Limits on Damages
While some states impose limits on these types of awards, Wyoming's state constitution specifically forbids them (except for claims against government entities). Additionally, the state's "modified comparative negligence" rule bars any recovery if the plaintiff was more than 50% responsible for causing the injury and otherwise reduces damages in proportion to the amount of fault attributed to the plaintiff.
Next Step: Receive a Claim Review from a Wyoming Attorney
Although the state's comparative negligence rules could significantly affect an otherwise large award for damages, there's almost no limit to the amount of damages you can pursue after an accident in Wyoming. Therefore, it's important to have effective, persuasive representation. Find out about the strength of your claim by receiving a claim evaluation from an experienced, local attorney who is familiar with pain and suffering damages in Wyoming.
Contact a qualified attorney.