The term “pain and suffering” is a legal phrase that refers to a victim’s physical or mental damage, resulting from an accident. When it comes to pain and suffering, this generally means significant physical injury or mental agony that is experienced as a result of an accident, defined in a potential settlement. If a victim dies when it’s someone else’s fault in a personal injury claim, the family of the victim may include loss of consortium in the wrongful death claim.
Physical Pain and Suffering
An injury falling under a pain and suffering claim can be very painful when it is physical and can persist for days or even weeks. Sadly, an injury where pain and suffering comes into play means it could be something you live with for the rest of your life. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke says chronic pain may endure for weeks or even years.
The following are a few examples of physical medical ailments that may be eligible for pain and suffering compensation:
– Back Pain
– Severe head trauma or Injury to the brain
– Broken bones
– Internal injury
– Muscle injury: sprains or tears
– Dislocated Joints
– Neck Pain
Medical ailments like these can endure for long periods of time or even be a permanent disability, drastically affecting a victim’s life and leaving them in excruciating anguish.
Emotional Pain and Suffering
After an injury, emotional anguish may cause extreme mental and psychological misery, which can linger for a very long time. After an accident in which you suffered injury, chronic emotional distress may lead to devastating pain and suffering. Here are some instances of emotional pain and suffering:
– PTSD (or post-traumatic stress disorder)
– Extreme grief
– Mental trauma
– Changes to mental state
– Decreased quality of life
– Extreme dread or worry
The emotional distress a personal injury victim experiences may be profound, and as with a physical injury, may have long-term effects.
Loss of Consortium
An accident, which falls under personal injury, might result in the death of the victim in certain situations. In these circumstances, the family files a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of their deceased family member in order to make the at-fault party responsible and collect compensation for everything from lost earnings and medical costs to loss of consortium.
Following the death, family members may feel loss of consortium, which is a form of pain and suffering. Following an avoidable accident, a family’s sadness and mental agony may be compensated for by the pain and suffering experienced by the surviving family who are mourning the loss of a loved one. Loss of consortium may manifest itself in a variety of ways, including the loss of:
– Parental presence
– Intimacy from a spouse
– Head of household
There are a long list of things that can fall under loss of consortium that may entitle you to compensation, but these are the most common ones that come up.
How to Calculate Pain and Suffering in Dollars
Because each personal injury suit is unique, how to calculate what your pain and suffering is worth in dollars will vary depending on the facts, as well as the circumstances surrounding the accident and case. In a personal injury lawsuit, however, there are two methods for calculating pain and suffering.
The multiplier method is used when the victim’s true damages — which would include medical costs, lost income, etc. — reach a certain amount. This number would then be multiplied a specific number of times based on how serious the injury is, resulting in a total for pain and suffering. Generally, the compensation is determined by multiplying by a number up to 5.
When it comes to the per diem method, this involves allocating a specified cash sum to each day between the accident and the victim’s recovery or “maximum recovery”. The “maximum recovery” term refers to when a medical expert has determined that the victim’s medical condition has reached the maximum of recovery and will not improve any more.
While these are the two methods generally outlined, an insurance company may utilize other methods to quantify pain and suffering.
How Pain and Suffering is Proven
Documentation is required to help prove either physical or mental pain and suffering, as well as supporting evidence. These might include doctor records, pictures, a diary that follows a victim’s suffering, notes from a therapist or other medical evidence.
The more proof that is established, the better the insurance company or a judge will be able to understand how the accident has changed a victim’s life by causing pain and suffering.
While you may be able to gather much of this evidence on your own, engaging a personal injury attorney to assist you with the case while you concentrate on your rehabilitation may be beneficial.