What Are Pain And Suffering In Injury Law?

When preparing claims for clients, personal injury attorneys usually include compensation for pain and suffering. It's easy to understand what this means in the everyday sense, but what does it mean when a personal injury lawyer talks about it?

Misery Resulting From the Injury

Pain and suffering arise from a legally recognized injury. If an accident crushes someone's arm, for example, they would experience pain during the incident. Also, the law recognizes that pain and suffering might continue for months or even years because of trouble healing or long-term damage.

Notably, most states require proof of physical injury in a case before someone can claim pain and suffering. A few states recognize purely emotional traumas as potentially causing harm. However, you should consult with a personal injury lawyer from the state where the incident occurred to find out whether you can pursue a case absent physical injuries.

However, for cases where someone needed something like a band-aid but no medical attention, they probably can't claim an injury. Instead, they would need to have obtained professional medical treatment and incurred expenses from doing so. Even in cases involving emotional traumas alone, the law wants to see medical costs in the form of assistance like mental health counseling.

Documenting Pain and Suffering

With physical harm, a personal injury attorney can present medical bills, diagnostic tests, and doctor's reports to demonstrate the financial costs of what happened. Pain and suffering work a little differently.

Normally, a personal injury lawyer will ask a client to document their pain and suffering using a journal. Each day, the client will make a small entry about how they felt and what they'd rate their pain level on a 10-point scale.

If any of the case hinges on the pain from the initial accident, a personal injury lawyer can use witness statements and video evidence, too. They also can ask medical specialists to describe what sort of pain a person might experience while suffering similar injuries.

Calculating Damages

When personal injury attorneys negotiate settlements with insurance companies, they use a multiplier to calculate damages for pain and suffering. Usually, the multiplier goes from 1.5X to 5X. The main variation is from how much pain and suffering the victim has endured and might still go through. At the high end of the scale, a 5X multiplier represents life-altering and permanent pain and suffering. The two sides then apply the multiplier to the medical damages to arrive at a number.

To learn more, contact a personal injury attorney.