What Is Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury Claim?

What Is Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury Claim? When you pursue a personal injury case, you can seek compensation to address various types of losses. This includes reimbursement for actual economic damages, such as medical expenses and lost wages resulting from missed work. Additionally, you may be entitled to compensation for the intangible impact of pain and suffering.

Understanding the concept of pain and suffering and determining the appropriate amount of compensation for the discomfort caused by an injury resulting from negligence or intentional misconduct can be complex. This blog post aims to clarify the definition of pain and suffering and provide insights into what you can anticipate when seeking compensation for these damages through a personal injury lawsuit.

Defining pain and suffering in personal injury cases

Pain and suffering encompasses both physical and mental distress that arises from being harmed due to negligence or intentional wrongdoing.

  • Physical pain and suffering. This type of pain refers to the actual physical discomfort experienced as a result of your injuries. It can range from temporary pain to chronic conditions. Examples include neck and back pain, bone fractures, headaches, and muscle aches. It’s important to seek compensation not only for current physical pain but also for any future pain that may result from your injuries.
  • Mental pain and suffering. In addition to physical pain, accidents can cause significant mental distress. Mental pain and suffering encompass a range of emotions and psychological effects. This can include cognitive changes resulting from brain injuries, trauma, anxiety, depression, and diminished quality of life. Any negative emotional impact directly attributable to the accident can be considered mental pain and suffering.

It’s important to note that there are various types of pain and suffering, and each case is unique. For example, if a car accident causes paralysis, you may experience neuropathic pain, as well as emotional distress such as depression and grief. Seeking compensation for all forms of pain and suffering is essential to ensure you receive appropriate damages for the impact of the accident on your life.

Calculating pain and suffering in Virginia personal injury cases

Determining the appropriate compensation for pain and suffering can be challenging since it falls under non-economic damages, unlike economic damages that have measurable monetary values. While medical bills and lost wages are easier to quantify, assigning a dollar amount to things like backaches or broken bone pain is more complex. Insurance companies often utilize two common methods, known as the multiplier method and per diem method, to estimate pain and suffering damages for settlement purposes. However, if your case goes to court, the final determination of compensation will be made by the judge or jury, and it may differ from the amounts obtained through these approaches.

  • The Multiplier Method: This method involves multiplying economic damages by a certain factor to estimate pain and suffering damages. The multiplier typically ranges between 1.5 and 5, depending on the severity of the injuries. For instance, if your economic losses amount to $200,000 due to partial paralysis, you might be entitled to five times that amount in pain and suffering damages to account for the significant impact and life-altering consequences of paralysis.
  • The Per Diem Method: With this approach, a fixed daily rate is established to compensate for each day of enduring pain. Typically, your daily wage is used as the basis, although it can be adjusted. For example, if your daily wage is $100, and it’s estimated that you will experience pain for 100 days, the calculation would be $100 multiplied by 100, resulting in $10,000 for pain and suffering damages.

It’s important to note that these methods serve as general guidelines and may vary depending on the specific circumstances of your case. When resolving a claim through a settlement, the multiplier or per diem approach can be helpful. However, if your case proceeds to a civil lawsuit, the court will ultimately determine the appropriate amount of compensation for pain and suffering, which may differ from the calculations derived from these methods.

How to prove pain and suffering in a personal injury claim

It is up to you and your attorney to prove the extent of your pain and suffering in order to recover proper compensation. The more evidence and documentation you have, the more likely it is that you will secure an award that addresses the true extent of your losses. Some of the different types of evidence you could use to prove pain and suffering include:

  • Medical records
  • Expert testimony
  • Relevant photographs & videos
  • A personal diary

How can a Richmond-based personal injury attorney help me?

An experienced Richmond personal injury attorney from Phelan Petty can help you prove the extent of your pain so you can recover the compensation you deserve. Here’s how we can assist you in this process:

  • Medical documentation. We understand the importance of thorough medical documentation. We work closely with medical professionals to obtain detailed records of your injuries, treatments received, and the impact these injuries have had on your daily life. This documentation serves as essential evidence to demonstrate the extent of your pain and suffering.
  • Expert witnesses. We can call upon expert witnesses, such as medical specialists or rehabilitation experts, to provide professional opinions regarding the nature and long-term effects of your injuries. These experts can testify on your behalf, explaining the severity of your pain and how it has impacted your quality of life. Their testimony can carry significant weight in establishing the extent of your suffering.
  • Gathering evidence. We conduct a thorough investigation to gather all relevant evidence that supports your claim. This may involve collecting accident reports, eyewitness testimonies, surveillance footage, or any other evidence that demonstrates the negligence or liability of the responsible party. By building a strong case with compelling evidence, we can strengthen your claim for adequate compensation.
  • Demonstrating impact. We work to demonstrate how your injuries have affected various aspects of your life. This may include documenting the physical limitations you now face, the emotional distress you have endured, the impact on your ability to work, and the restrictions on your daily activities. By presenting a comprehensive picture of the consequences you have suffered, we can help the jury understand the true extent of your pain and suffering.

At Phelan Petty, we will leverage our knowledge, resources, and advocacy skills. We can help you gather the necessary evidence, work with expert witnesses, and build a strong case to ensure your pain and suffering is recognized and valued. With our support, you can strive for a fair resolution that provides the financial relief you need to move forward and begin the process of healing. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your options in a safe and compassionate environment, call us or use our contact form. We serve clients in Richmond and throughout Virginia.