Pain and suffering is a legal term for the physical and emotional stress caused from an injury. Some damages which might be under this category would be aches, temporary impairment and limitation on activity, potential shortening of life, depression and scarring. When filing a lawsuit as a result of an injury, it is common for someone to seek compensation both in compensatory for actual money for which is lost and for pain and stress associated with virtually any injury. In a suit, pain and suffering is part of the general damage section of the claimant’s claim or alternatively it is element of compensatory, non-economic damages which allows recovery for the mental anguish and/or physical pain endured by the claimant as a result of the injury for which plaintiff seeks redress.
Settlements a person receives from pain and suffering depends on many factors as follows:
- The severity of injury;
- Type of medical treatment;
- Length of recovery time;
- Potential long term consequences; and
- Physical pain.
It should also be noted the victim can also request emotional and psychological drama in their claim. For example, if a person has a fractured knee and will experience pain throughout his life and have a limp which causes embarrassment and insecurity.
Pain and suffering is a very tangible damage award in that everyone experiences it to a different degree for many types of injuries. Trying to put value on it is difficult and the lawyer has to express, normally through experts, the pain the victim will experience during his lifetime in order to secure a significant amount of damages.
Pain and suffering can be shown through the amount of pain medication one must take, emotional distress, anxiety, nervousness and depression which is stated by expert witness testimony. This also shows how long the pain and suffering will endure and the severity of the injury. Its value is something the jurors, judges, and attorneys have been fighting over for years. There are many theories and justification to formulate a basis for calculating the value of these claims.
Some jurisdictions allow what is called Per Diem, which states the daily calculation of an emotional and physical pain and suffering imposed by the victim is multiplied by the total number of days, with a value put on each day. Another way to calculate the damages is the amount of compensation an average individual wants to be paid to be relieved from pain and suffering being experienced.
In order to increase the value of an award, the personal injury lawyer should hire an expert to set forth the experience of the pain and suffering and the duration of time the pain and suffering will continue.
Other ways of determining the award is consideration for extensive residual pain and life changes caused by disability, which often qualifies for compensation when accident victims prove the pain and suffering.
Pain and suffering damages often exceed the damage for expenses relating to medical bills and loss of wages. It is believed this makes sense given that this can be a life-long ordeal. It includes but is not limited to the following:
- Post traumatic stress disorder;
- Depression and other psychological disorders;
- Reduced quality of life; and
- The effect of the injury on your relationships with loved ones and friends.
If you or a loved one has been injured, please contact David K. Kremin & Associates at 1(800) ASK-A-LAWYER or 1(800) 275-2529 for a free consultation.