You were injured in an accident. You have consulted with an attorney who has agreed to pursue your claim for damages against the negligent person or entity responsible for your injuries. You understand that, among other damages, your attorney will ask for you to be compensated for your pain and suffering. Just what does that mean and how are those damages proven and calculated?
What does “Pain and Suffering” Mean?
Economic damages, like medical expenses and lost wages, can be calculated by a statement of expenses already incurred, or by projecting what future costs are expected to be. For example, you will have statements of medical expenses from your health care providers. You will be able to provide concrete proof of your income prior to the injury and how much time you had to miss from work due to your injury.
Experts can project, based on your medical condition, what your likely costs will be in the future for medical problems. Similarly, a dollar value can be placed on the amount of wages you are expected to lose in the future. These damages can be calculated mathematically.
Pain and Suffering Difficult to Prove
Pain and suffering are non-Economic damages since there are no concrete statements itemizing the losses and are often difficult to prove. Each case is different. A person with a broken leg will not experience as much pain and suffering as someone who ended up as a paraplegic due to a broken back and who will never walk again. The purpose of damages in general is to compensate the injured person for losses from the harm caused. In some cases, the injury may be so severe, no amount of money can ever make up for the loss.
Pain and suffering are really two separate things. Pain is the physical pain you experience due to your injury. Suffering is the mental anguish you experience because of the injury, the changes in your daily life, and the uncertainty of your future.
One example of pain and suffering is presented by a person whose face is severely disfigured in an accident. She or he will experience physical pain from undergoing surgical procedures, debridement and other required physical treatments. The person will also suffer mental anguish at facing the public, and fear that they will never be made whole. Fear that they will be turned away from employment, even if they recover enough to seek employment, based on their disfigurement.
Pain and suffering can include all or some of the following:
- Interference with your normal day-to-day living.
- Interference with your enjoyment of life.
- Your loss of capacity to work and earn a living.
- Impairment of your bodily health and vigor.
- The fear of the extent of your injury.
- The shock of the actual impact.
- Your actual pain and suffering, both past and future.
- Your mental anguish, both past and future.
- Limitation on your activities.
But, you should do more than present a list of your losses to collect for your pain and suffering. You should submit proof as to how your life has changed.
How to Prove Your Pain and Suffering
Medical expert testimony is helpful evidence to present to an insurer or a jury that explains the extent of the pain you experienced and the limitations on your current ability to do the normal and everyday activities that you did prior to your injury. For example, if you were active in sports, but due to permanent damage to your broken leg will never be able to play tennis, water ski, snow ski or any similar activities you routinely engaged in prior to your injury, the physician can explain why you can no longer participate in them.
Call in those who knew you before to verify that you did engage in those activities. Provide photos of you actively participating in the activities you can no longer experience. Show how your daily living is impacted. Testimony from professionals, including psychologists, physicians, nurses, therapists, employers, relatives and others can explain how your life was before the injury and how it is now. Photos and videos can support your claim.
Our Experienced Attorneys Can Help You With Your Case
At Georgia Trial Attorneys our experienced attorneys handle all types of personal injury cases. We are committed to providing top-notch representation our clients while dealing honestly and fairly with all involved in the litigation process. We pride ourselves on our integrity. Contact us online or call us at 678-392-1401 for a free case evaluation.