Pain and Suffering Damages Under the Jones Act

If you are a crewman who was injured on the job, you may be entitled to collect damages under a federal law called the Jones Act.  

The potential damages you could recover include lost wages and benefits, lost future earning capacity, medical bills, and future medical care.  These types of damages are relatively straightforward to prove for the court because they are based on dollar figures that are known or relatively easy to estimate.  

But you also may be able to recover damages for the pain and suffering you experienced from the injury.  Proving what you are due for your pain and suffering can be more complex, difficult to calculate, and subjective.  

We typically prove pain and suffering damages by:

  • Showing the jury what your life was like before the accident, using the testimony of family and friends, pictures and videos of your life, and your own testimony;

  • Proving what you experienced during the accident that caused the injury, and immediately thereafter;

  • Demonstrating the physical and emotional impact the injury has had on you since the accident, such as anxiety, depression, emotional distress, mental anguish, humiliation, loss of enjoyment of life, sexual dysfunction, or post-traumatic stress disorder ("PTSD"); and

  • Proving the lasting impact of the injury on your life, such as how the injury limits your life activities and your job, permanent physical disability, disfiguring scars, or chronic pain;

Courts do not use a clear set of rules to calculate pain and suffering damages.  The jury will not use a formula or chart to calculate exactly what to award you for pain and suffering.  Jurors will likely be instructed to use their own common sense and experience to decide what amount is fair.  

But an experienced Jones Act attorney can help you estimate what a jury may find to be the monetary value of your pain and suffering.   To maximize the amount you recover, you will need experienced and qualified lawyers like the lawyers at Wilkins Schneller Law. The lawyers at Wilkins Schneller Law obtained $35 million in damages, in one of the largest Jones Act and maritime law judgments of all time.