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How Do You Prove Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury Claim?


When accident victims come to us for help with their accident claims, they are often surprised at just how many forms of compensation they may be entitled to. For personal injury claims, plaintiffs can recover both economic and non-economic losses. Most people are familiar with economic losses such as medical expenses and lost wages, but one example of non-economic damages is known as pain and suffering. Essentially, these damages are designed to compensate victims for the emotional and psychological trauma their injuries have caused them. 

The next question, then, is how do claimants prove their pain and suffering? This depends on a few factors–let’s take a closer look at how these damages are determined. 

Proving Pain and Suffering Damages

As mentioned above, pain and suffering refers to the additional mental and emotional anguish that victims experience due to their injuries. When you work with an experienced personal injury attorney, they will utilize numerous methods in order to help prove your pain and suffering, including but not limited to: 

  • Extensive review of your medical records and expenses 
  • Pictures of your injuries as well as your treatments, such as surgeries or other procedures 
  • Testimony from your friends and loved ones about how your injuries have affected you 
  • Testimony from physicians and medical experts detailing the extent of your injuries 
  • Review of any psychiatric or mental health-related treatments

State Laws Regarding Pain and Suffering and Other Non-Economic Damages 

The state you file your claim in will largely determine how you and your attorney will go about proving your pain and suffering, as the laws that define non-economic losses vary widely. The language will change by state, but by and large, most states identify pain and suffering as a form of damages that may cause: 

  • Demonstrable disruptions to your typical life/ routine 
  • Significant emotional and mental distress 
  • Severe disfigurement or deformity 
  • Limiting or debilitating physical injuries or conditions 

When consulting with your attorney, be sure to disclose all information and records, as you will need to rely on that information to prove your pain and suffering. You should also avoid doing anything that might hurt your claim while it is still ongoing–claimants are much less likely to recover these damages if they get into another accident, make inappropriate posts on social media, or do anything that jeopardizes the validity of their claim. 

Do Certain Injuries Qualify For Pain and Suffering More Than Others? 

On paper, all injuries are important and should be treated as such. However, generally speaking, the more severe your injuries are, the better chance you have of recovering non-economic damages. Laws vary by jurisdiction, but most states recognize certain injuries as being “catastrophic,” and those claimants are extremely likely to recover damages for pain and suffering. These injuries may include: 

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) or other head and neck ailments 
  • Severe burns 
  • Amputated or deformed appendages 
  • Loss of vision or hearing 
  • Spinal injuries resulting in paralysis 
  • Chronic medical conditions such as cancer or Parkinson’s 
  • Infertility or damage to reproductive systems 

The Importance of Statutes of Limitations 

One final aspect of pain and suffering that claimants should note is that each state has their own statute of limitations. A statute of limitations is essentially a time limit for claimants to come forward–most states have either a two or three year statute of limitations from the date of the accident, also known as the date of loss. If you do not file your claim within the allotted time, you will be unable to recover compensation. 

Injury claims can take a lot of time to complete, and this can become a problem if you wait to start the process. Attorneys can navigate through an SOL if you give them enough time, but it’s important to seek representation as soon as possible following your accident. 

Need Help Proving Pain and Suffering? Van Law Firm Can Help

Accident victims deserve to recover all the damages they are entitled to, and that includes pain and suffering and other non-economic losses. The award-winning team of personal injury attorneys from Van Law Firm can review your claim and formulate the best plan of action to recover the most compensation possible. With $50+ million recovered so far, you won’t want to go anywhere else–call our office nearest you today for more information.