What Falls Under Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury Claim?
Most personal injury claimants are familiar with monetary damages such as medical expenses and lost wages, but claimants should also note that non-economic losses are recoupable as well–one such example is known as pain and suffering.
While “pain and suffering” is somewhat of a vague phrase on paper, by law it is a recognized form of damages that encompasses the physical and psychological trauma an individual has suffered as a result of their accident. Generally speaking, the more severe your injuries are, the more likely it is that you will recover these damages. Not only that, but in the case of a wrongful death, surviving family members can also include these damages in their claim.
Let’s take a look at non-economic losses like pain and suffering and how they apply to personal injury cases:
Pain and Suffering for Physical Injuries
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Unfortunately, most injuries that are suffered in personal injury accidents are substantial enough that they require extensive treatment to heal properly, which could take weeks or even months. Not only that, but a large number of conditions may leave victims with chronic pain that could linger for years or even the remainder of one’s life.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there are a large number of injuries that may result in chronic pain, subsequently opening the door for pain and suffering damages. These injuries include:
- Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Back injury
- Pinched or damaged nerves
- Broken bones
- Whiplash and other neck injuries
- Damaged organs or tissues
The Emotional and Psychological Aspects of Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering applies to emotional and psychological trauma as well. Given the fact that most accidents are horrifying and painful experiences for victims, it’s not hard to understand why mental and emotional trauma is a factor when debating damages such as pain and suffering, especially if a claimant has been diagnosed with one of the following:
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Severe depression or anxiety
- Memory loss or other cognitive-related issues
What Does Loss of Consortium Mean?
As mentioned above, sometimes pain and suffering damages can be extended to surviving loved ones if their family member died from an accident. Essentially, loss of consortium encompasses the trauma a family may face after the death of a loved one, such as the loss of parental care or guidance, the loss of spousal affection and intimacy, and the loss of income and household services.
Formulating and Proving Pain and Suffering
Each claim will feature unique injuries and circumstances, so the calculations will look different depending on the case. That being said, there are two standard ways in which attorneys formulate these damages:
Per Diem System
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When using the per diem method, an attorney will ascribe a certain dollar amount to each day from the date of the accident up until the last day of a victim’s treatment. Once a physician has ruled that the claimant has reached the point of maximum recovery, the days will be added up to a lump sum, representing the extent of pain and suffering damages.
The other way these damages are formulated is by using the multiplier method–essentially, this is done by taking the figure for the claimant’s overall damages (medical expenses, property damage, lost income, etc.) and multiplying it by a number that corresponds to the severity of the accident and resulting injuries. This figure is usually somewhere between 1.5 and 5.
When it comes to proving pain and suffering, these damages are just like any other legal claim, in that they are largely dependent on the amount of evidence a claimant can produce. It’s important to try to avoid generic claims and provide concrete documentation, such as notes from physicians or mental health professionals, testimony from family and friends, and medical records. The more evidence you can provide, the more likely you are to recoup these damages.
Questions About Potential Damages? Contact Award-Winning Personal Injury Attorneys
When you need help recovering damages for pain and suffering, it’s best to contact trusted professionals–the experienced and versatile team of personal injury attorneys from Van Law Firm are standing by to help you get the help you need to get your life back on track. We’ve amassed over 500 5-star reviews thus far, and our reputation is only getting stronger. Call our office nearest you today to get started with a free and confidential consultation.
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