Pain and suffering are legal terms that refer to the physical and emotional harm that a person experiences as a result of an accident, injury, or wrongful act. In the context of personal injury cases, pain and suffering are considered compensable damages that a victim may seek from the at-fault party. In this article, we will explore what pain and suffering is, how it is calculated, and how a personal injury lawyer can help you recover these damages.
Pain and Suffering Defined
Pain and suffering is a phrase used in the legal world to describe the physical and emotional harm that a person experiences as a result of an accident, injury, or wrongful act. Physical pain and suffering may include the pain, discomfort, and inconvenience that a victim experiences as a result of their injury. This can include things like broken bones, cuts and bruises, muscle strain, and other physical injuries. Emotional pain and suffering, on the other hand, refers to the psychological harm that a person experiences as a result of their injury. This can include things like anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), emotional distress, and other emotional injuries.
As we mentioned, pain and suffering are considered compensable damages. This means that a victim may seek money for the harm they have suffered as a result of someone else's negligence or wrongful act. In order to recover these damages, however, the victim must demonstrate that the defendant, the at fault party, caused the pain and suffering. Additionally, the victim must come up with a value for that pain and suffering and prove that he or she has pain and suffering damages.
Calculating Pain and Suffering
Calculating pain and suffering damages is not an exact science. Unlike economic damages, like medical bills or lost wages, pain and suffering damages are not easily quantifiable. Instead, they are subjective and depend on a variety of factors, including the nature and severity of the injury, the impact on the victim's daily life, and the duration of the pain and suffering.
Using the Multiplier Method to Calculate Pain and Suffering
One common method for calculating pain and suffering damages is the "multiplier" method. This method involves multiplying the victim's actual damages (such as medical expenses and lost wages) by a certain number, usually between 2 and 5, depending on the severity of the injury and other factors. For example, if a victim has $10,000 in medical expenses and lost wages and the multiplier is 3, their pain and suffering damages would be $30,000.
Using the Per Diem Method to Calculate Pain and Suffering
Another method for calculating pain and suffering damages is the "per diem" method. This method involves assigning a dollar amount to each day that the victim experiences pain and suffering. This amount is usually based on the victim's daily wage or some other measure of their financial losses. For example, if the victim's daily wage is $200 and they experience pain and suffering for 100 days, their pain and suffering damages would be $20,000.
It is important to note that these are just two methods for calculating pain and suffering damages, and each case is unique. Your lawyer can help you determine the most appropriate method for calculating your damages based on the specific circumstances of your case.
Now, once you’ve calculated pain and suffering, you have a number, a value, for what you estimate the pain and suffering is worth. The next step is to prove your pain and suffering so that you can recover the compensation you’re entitled to. That’s what we’ll talk about next.
Proving Pain and Suffering
Proving pain and suffering can be challenging because it’s a subjective experience that is not easily quantifiable. However, there are several ways that a personal injury lawyer can help you prove pain and suffering damages in your case. Here are some of the most common methods:
Medical records can be a valuable source of evidence when it comes to proving pain and suffering. These records can document the physical and emotional harm that you have experienced as a result of your injury, including any diagnoses of anxiety, depression, PTSD, or other mental health conditions.
Testimony From Medical Professionals
Testimony from medical professionals, such as your treating physician or a mental health expert, can also be used to support your claim for pain and suffering damages. These experts can provide insight into the nature and extent of your injuries and the impact that they have had on your life.
Testimony From Friends and Family
Testimony from friends and family members can also be used to support your claim for pain and suffering damages. These individuals can testify about the changes that they have observed in your behavior, mood, and overall well-being since the injury occurred.
Your own testimony can be a powerful tool in proving pain and suffering damages. By describing your experience in your own words, you can help the judge and jury understand the impact that the injury has had on your life.
In some cases, expert testimony may be necessary to prove pain and suffering damages. For example, an economist may be able to testify about the economic impact of your injury, while a vocational rehabilitation specialist may be able to testify about the impact of your injury on your ability to work.
It is important to note that the specific evidence needed to prove pain and suffering damages will depend on the unique circumstances of your case. Your lawyer can help you gather the necessary evidence and build a strong case for your pain and suffering damages.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help You Recover Pain and Suffering Damages?
If you have been injured in an accident or as a result of someone else's negligence, carelessness, or recklessness, there are a number of ways your personal injury lawyer can help you recover compensation for pain and suffering damages. Here are some of the more common ways your lawyer can help you:
Investigate Your Case
A personal injury lawyer can investigate your case to determine who is at fault and gather evidence to support your claim. This may include interviewing witnesses, reviewing medical records, and consulting with experts.
Calculate Your Damages
A personal injury lawyer can help you calculate your damages, including pain and suffering damages, and ensure that you receive full and fair compensation for your losses.
Negotiate With Insurance Companies
Insurance companies are notoriously difficult to deal with when it comes to personal injury claims. A personal injury lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Represent You in Court
If your case goes to trial, a personal injury lawyer can represent you in court and argue your case to the judge and jury. This can be especially important when it comes to proving pain and suffering damages, as these damages are often subjective and require a compelling argument.
Provide Legal Guidance
Finally, a personal injury lawyer can provide you with legal guidance throughout the entire process, from filing your claim to receiving your settlement. This can be especially helpful if you are unfamiliar with the legal system and unsure of your rights and options.
Do You Need a Florida Personal Injury Lawyer?
If you have been injured as a result of the negligence or carelessness of another party, you should speak with an experienced Florida personal injury lawyer as soon as possible because you may be entitled to compensation. You can contact us online or you can call our Orlando, Florida law office at (321) 352-7588 to schedule your consultation.
If you need a South Carolina personal injury lawyer, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (843) 638-6590. We have at least one lawyer licensed in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.