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Pain and Suffering Damages in Delaware

Delaware is known as the first state to ratify the Constitution and as a tax-friendly place for corporations. It also has favorable laws for an injured person seeking damages for "pain and suffering," a legal term for both the physical and emotional distress caused by an injury. If you've been injured in this state, you'll want know how courts treat pain and suffering damages in Delaware.

Below is a table laying out laws relevant to pain and suffering damages in Delaware, including limits on damages and the statute of limitations.

Statute of Limitations

2 years for personal injury (Tit. 10, Sec. 8119); 1 year for some claims against local governments (Tit. 10, Sec. 4013(c))

Limits on Damages No cap on pain & suffering damages, generally; $300,000 cap on most claims against local governments (Title 10, Sec. 4013(a))
Other Limits Comparative negligence rule may prohibit or reduce recovery of any damages (Tit. 10, Sec. 8132)

The Types of Damages Available

In a claim for damages after an accident, there are usually two types of damages to consider: economic (or "special") and non-economic (or "general"). Economic damages refer to the more concrete costs of an injury, such as medical expenses and lost wages. Non-economic damages are the more abstract, subjective costs of an accident, including past and future pain and suffering (for example: depression, insomnia, and the loss of enjoyment of life).

How Do Delaware Courts Measure Pain and Suffering Damages?

Damages for pain and suffering are difficult to measure, in part because the experience of pain and suffering varies so much from one person to the next. Courts often instruct juries to use their best judgment in deciding how much to award a plaintiff, and attorneys and juries use a number of factors to assign value to these types of damages.

Below are some factors that are often considered in determining damages for pain and suffering:

  • Severity of the injury
  • Potential for ongoing consequences
  • Age of the injured person
  • Whether the injured had preexisting conditions
  • The amount of economic loss suffered

Some attorneys also use a "multiplier method" to arrive at a dollar value for pain and suffering. In this method, the attorney multiplies the economic damages by a certain number, usually between one and five. For example, if the injured suffered $10,000 in medical bills, an attorney might argue that the plaintiff should be awarded four times that amount ($40,000) for pain and suffering.

Limits on Damages

Some jurisdictions also impose their own limits on these types of awards. While Delaware does not have a cap on damages for pain and suffering, the state's "modified comparative negligence" rule bars any recovery if the plaintiff was more than 50% responsible for causing the injury. In all other scenarios where the plaintiff is partially at fault, any damages awarded are reduced in proportion to amount of negligence attributed to the plaintiff.

Get Legal Help With Your Delaware Pain and Suffering Claim

Damages for pain and suffering are inherently difficult to measure and vary widely from case to case. Consequently, it is important to have both good documentation and effective representation for these types of claims. Learn more and evaluate the strength of your claim by contacting a local injury attorney who has experience with pain and suffering damages in Delaware.

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