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Bill Fuld

Calculating Pain and Suffering in Construction Injury Cases

If you suffered a catastrophic injury in a construction accident you might be entitled to damages for pain and suffering in addition to other damages (such as medical expenses and lost wages).

However, calculating the value of pain and suffering in a construction injury case can be a complex and challenging process. Pain and suffering damages are not as easily quantifiable as medical expenses or lost wages, and their value can vary widely depending on the nature and severity of the injuries, as well as the impact they have had on a victim’s life.

In this article, we will provide an overview of how pain and suffering damages are often calculated by jurors, and what you can do to document the pain and suffering you have endured from your injuries so that you can receive the compensation to which you are entitled for the impact your injuries have had on your life.

If you would like to learn more about pursuing pain and suffering as well as other damages, we invite you to call Karr Tuttle Campbell at (206) 223-1313 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Washington construction injury lawyer.

Can I Recover for Pain and Suffering in a Washington Workers’ Compensation Case?

Washington workers’ compensation is a “no fault” system that offers compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, and other damages, but workers’ compensation does not provide separate benefits for “pain and suffering”.  However, pain and suffering can be recovered in a personal injury lawsuit against a person or entity other than your employer, which is a significant reason to determine whether there are other companies, contractors, or individuals that may be liable for your injuries.

At Karr Tuttle Campbell, our experienced construction accident attorneys will leave no stone unturned in seeking to identify all potentially liable parties so that maximum damages can be pursued, including pain and suffering.

What Are Pain and Suffering Damages?

In a Washington construction injury case, pain and suffering refer to the physical and emotional distress that a victim experiences as a result of their injuries. This can include:

Physical Pain. This refers to the actual pain and discomfort that a construction worker experiences as a result of his or her injuries. This can include things like back pain, headaches, and other types of physical discomfort.

  • Emotional Distress. In addition to physical pain, severe construction injuries can also cause emotional distress, such as anxiety, depression, and other types of psychological trauma.
  • Loss of Enjoyment. Work injuries can also prevent a victim from participating in activities they enjoy, such as hobbies or sports. This loss of enjoyment can be a significant source of pain and suffering. If you’ve experienced a surgery or procedure after a construction accident, the recovery time would be included.
  • Loss of Quality of Life. Work injuries can also impact a victim’s overall quality of life, such as their ability to perform daily activities or care for their family.

Overall, pain and suffering damages are intended to compensate a victim for the physical and emotional toll that their injuries have taken on their life. These damages are often difficult to quantify, but an experienced construction accident lawyer can help you build a strong case and present compelling evidence of the impact that your injuries have had on your life.

How Are Pain and Suffering Calculated in Washington Construction Injury Cases?

In Washington, pain and suffering damages can be awarded in work injury cases against a defendantincluding a general contractor, owner, developer, subcontractor or other entity, , Construction accidents can include scaffolding accidents, equipment accidents, slip and falls, injuries from defective products and various other accidents on construction sites  However, calculating pain and suffering damages can be challenging and often involves multiple factors.

One factor that is often considered is the severity and duration of the injury. More severe injuries that result in longer recovery times and ongoing pain and suffering may result in more substantial damages.

More specifically, we believe that jurors often ask themselves how much they feel would be sufficient to compensate them if the same injuries that occurred to the injured construction worker had instead occurred to them.  Many of us, for example, have sustained a broken bone, so we have some idea about the associated pain and suffering.  Most of us have also sustained a minor burn, so we will also know well how painful even a tiny burn can be. Fortunately, however, most jurors will not have sustained multiple broken bones, severe burns covering a large part of their body, amputations, paraplegia, or other catastrophic injuries.  Thus, they may need to take their personal injury experiences and extrapolate in their mind the amount of pain and suffering that would likely be experienced in a much more severe injury.

Another factor is the impact that the injury has on the victim’s daily life. For example, if the injury prevents the injured construction worker from participating in hobbies or activities they enjoy, this may be taken into account when calculating damages.

Additionally, the extent to which the injury affects the victim’s mental health, such as causing anxiety or depression, may also be considered.  Severe injuries often result in anxiety and depression, particularly as a result of new stressors such as the concerns about money and paying household bills that arise when a person cannot work.

In Washington, pain and suffering damages can vary depending on the unique circumstances of each case. To help ensure that you receive fair compensation for your pain and suffering, it is important to work with an experienced Seattle construction injury attorney who understands how to present a compelling case for maximum compensation.

How Can I Prove Pain and Suffering in a Washington Construction Injury Case?

In Washington, like in many other states, pain and suffering are considered non-economic damages in a personal injury case. “Non-economic  damages” are damages that cannot readily be tied to a specific dollar amount, such as medical expenses.

Proving pain and suffering can be challenging, but there are several ways to demonstrate the impact of the injuries on a victim’s life. Here are some steps you can take, and other evidence that can be introduced, to help prove pain and suffering in your case:

  • Medical Expenses. Documentation of medical bills and other expenses related to the injuries can demonstrate the financial impact of the injuries and provide additional evidence of the severity of the injuries. One consideration often taken into account by jurors in determining pain and suffering damages is the amount of medical expenses incurred, on the theory that the greater the medical expenses, the more pain and suffering likely was endured by the injury victim.
  • Medical Records. Medical records can provide evidence of the extent and severity of the injuries. This includes documentation of treatment received, medications prescribed, and the medical professional’s notes on the construction worker’s injury.
  • Testimony. Testimony from the victim and their family members, friends, and medical professionals can help to describe the impact of the injuries on their daily life. The victim may discuss how their injuries have affected their ability to work, engage in leisure activities, or even perform daily tasks such as walking, bathing, or dressing.
  • Expert Witnesses. Expert witnesses, such as doctors or therapists, can provide testimony about the severity and long-term effects of the injuries, including any chronic pain or disability.
  • Photographs and Videos. Photographs and videos can visually demonstrate the physical injuries and the emotional toll it has taken on the construction employee.
  • Journal Entries. A journal can provide a detailed account of how the injuries have affected an injury victim’s life, including their pain levels, emotional state, and daily struggles. In particular, it will be helpful to journal the pain medication used each day associated with trying to get pain relief.
  • Comparison to Pre-Accident Life. Comparing the victim’s life before the accident to their current state can demonstrate the significant impact of the injuries.

Overall, proving pain and suffering in a Washington personal injury case typically requires careful documentation and testimony from medical professionals, family members, and other witnesses who can attest to the extent of the victim’s injuries and how it has affected their daily life. As experienced construction injury attorneys, we can help gather critical evidence that helps demonstrate the extent of your pain and suffering. 

Can I File A Lawsuit and Pursue Pain and Suffering Against Someone Other Than My Employer if I Am Collecting Workers’ Compensation Benefits?


If you have been injured at a worksite, you may be receiving workers´ compensation benefits. However, these benefits may not be sufficient to compensate you for your injuries.

If someone other than your employer was even partially at  fault for the construction accident that caused your injuries, you might also have a personal injury claim for significant damages, including damages for pain and suffering.

Our construction accident lawyers and construction fatality attorneys have a reputation for taking construction injury cases to trial if a fair settlement cannot be achieved. If you or a loved one was injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, we can tenaciously pursue justice and the maximum compensation you and your family deserve, and we will not hesitate to proceed to trial in seeking a favorable outcome.

Is There A Cap On Pain and Suffering In Washington Personal Injury Cases?

Whether pain and suffering can be capped depends on the type of case and circumstances. For example, personal injury claims against parents of a child who willfully and maliciously inflict personal injury are capped at $5,000.[1] However, this cap does not generally apply to other types of personal injury cases, such construction injury cases.  In most personal injury cases, pain and suffering are typically capped at an amount determined by multiplying 0.43 by the average annual wage and by the life expectancy of the person incurring the non-economic damages.[2]

Nevertheless, it’s important to note that proving pain and suffering damages in personal injury cases can still be challenging, and the amount awarded is typically based on the individual circumstances of each case. As Washington construction accident attorneys who are experienced at pursuing damages for pain and suffering, we can help you understand your legal options and provide guidance regarding the damages to which you might be entitled. 

Schedule A Free Consultation With An Experienced Construction Accident Pain & Suffering Lawyer Today.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction accident and have suffered pain and other non-economic damages, you deserve full compensation for your losses. At Karr Tuttle Campbell, we have the experience, knowledge, and dedication to help you get the compensation you deserve. Our experienced construction accident pain and suffering attorneys have helped numerous clients in construction injury cases, and we are ready to help you too.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation, and let us fight to protect your rights and get the justice you deserve!

[1] Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 4.24.190.

[2] Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 4.56.250.