Your lawyer may employ several methods to prove pain and suffering in your personal injury or medical malpractice claim. Some documents your lawyer may use to prove that your pain and suffering exist include:
- Medical bills
- Medical records, including your treatment records
- Pictures of your injuries
- Psychiatric records
- The time you missed from work
- Your mental state
Pain and suffering refers to a type of non-economic loss included in your claim for financial recovery. Your lawyer may work with medical experts to prove pain and suffering in your case and determine the dollar amount it warrants.
A woman experiencing neck pain after an accident. Her pain may not have a dollar amount, but it is still worthy of compensation.
Defining Non-Economic Damages for Financial Compensation
To prove pain and suffering, you must demonstrate how your injuries have affected your life. Pain and suffering is a form of non-economic damage that may lead to:
- A disruption to your usual way of life
- Debilitating physical impairments
- Mental and emotional distress
- Physical deformities or disfigurements
Be sure to share your complete medical records with your lawyer. Other injuries and their long-term aftereffects might also constitute pain and suffering, depending on what led to your initial injuries.
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Life-Changing Injuries That Contribute to Your Non-Economic Losses
Many state laws list certain physical injuries as catastrophic when they occur as the result of another person’s recklessness, carelessness, or negligent actions.
Some of these injuries include:
- Injuries to your spinal cord that lead to full or partial paralysis
- Amputation of a severely injured or deformed limb
- Severe brain damage or traumatic head injuries
- Loss of the ability to effectively communicate
- Severe burns over part or all of the body
- Injuries that result in complete loss of eyesight
- Forced infertility or the loss of reproductive organs
Injuries of this type are likely to result in a forced change to your lifestyle and employment, which would qualify as pain and suffering. Your medical records can help document these effects. Your medical records should also detail what event led to your injuries and how much time it would take to recover.
Calculating Losses in a Personal Injury or Negligence Claim
Every case of personal injury, medical malpractice, or negligence comes with its own set of circumstances. For instance, working with a burn injury lawyer might help you accurately value your claim for compensation after a burn injury. Generally, monetary awards fall into one of the following financial awards categories:
- Economic losses may include current and future lost income due to a short-term or long-term inability to return to work.
- Non-economic losses may include pain and suffering, physical disabilities, and a short-term or long-term inability to return to activities you enjoyed prior to getting hurt.
In some cases, you might also be eligible to receive punitive damages. Punitive damages apply only when the person who injured you acted intentionally or knew their negligence could cause harm and did so anyway.
Your lawyer must prove your injuries resulted from someone else’s actions. They must then prove pain and suffering, as well as every other element of your claim for compensation.
File a Claim for Pain and Suffering Right Away
Every state will have a statute of limitations on filing any civil lawsuit, including personal injury and pain and suffering claims. Your lawyer will explain the length of your statute of limitations.
Filing an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit takes time. With your lawyer’s guidance and direction, you can help gather evidence like medical records and bills, police or incident reports, and documents that verify your income at the time of the event that caused your injuries.
Your lawyer may also need time to identify and locate any witnesses to the event that caused your injuries. Contact a lawyer immediately after ensuring your emergency medical needs receive attention. Our firm can start building an effective case for compensation as soon as possible.
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How do You Determine a Reasonable Amount for Pain and Suffering?
Your personal injury lawyer will use the per diem (or per day) method or the multiplier method to determine the amount of pain and suffering compensation you are entitled to.
The per diem method uses the amount of money you lost per day as a result of your accident and then bases your pain and suffering damages on that. The multiplier method involves choosing a multiplier from one to five based on severity and then multiplying your economic damages by that figure.
How do Insurance Companies Determine Pain and Suffering?
Your personal injury attorney and the at-fault party’s insurer will negotiate the amount of your pain and suffering damages based on the same formula your lawyer used to estimate this non-economic damage.
Your attorney will present evidence that proves that you are entitled to the compensation amount they have determined.
The Liable Party May Underestimate Your Pain and Suffering
The liable party may try to undervalue or deny your claim by downplaying your injuries. A lawyer from our firm can fight for fair compensation. There are also a few things you can do to protect your right to damages.
Follow Through with Your Treatment Plan
It’s not enough to see a doctor once. You have to follow through with your prescribed treatment plan, as well. After diagnosing your injuries, your doctor will provide a prognosis that outlines your recovery period. Following their instructions can help you reach maximum medical improvement and protect your right to compensation for pain and suffering.
If you do not follow through with your treatment plan, an insurer could argue that you contributed to your injuries and pain and suffering. Do not give them fodder to deny your claim. Keep your doctor’s appointments and report any symptoms to your doctor so they can adjust your plan.
Be Careful When Speaking with Insurers
When you give your statement to an insurance adjuster, avoid answering any leading questions that may hurt your claim. For example, they may ask, “How are you feeling?” This may seem commonplace, but they could use your reply against you. Instead of saying anything specific, you can simply say that you are seeing a doctor to treat your injuries.
When speaking with adjusters, stick to the facts. You can also refer them to a lawyer from our firm. They can handle all communications with the liable party’s representatives for you.
Stay Off of Social Media
If you have a social media account, refrain from posting about your accident or injuries. Insurers may be monitoring your profile, and any statement you make could hurt your claim. Avoid posting pictures, describing the accident, or talking about how you feel.
Additionally, do not discuss your case with anyone except your lawyer.
Keep a Journal
You can also keep a daily journal detailing how your injuries affect your life. A lawyer from our firm may use this to prove your pain and suffering. Writing about your injuries and how they affect your life can also help you track your symptoms throughout your recovery. You may then share this information with your doctors.
You can describe how difficult regular tasks have become. Even simple activities like getting dressed or taking your dog for a walk can be challenging when recovering from severe injuries. Your injuries may prevent you from engaging in your hobbies, as well. You can also write about your physical pain and emotional experiences.
Your entries do not have to be long or particularly well-written. The point is simply to document your experiences clearly.
Proving Your Pain and Suffering to Strengthen Your Compensation Claim
A successful claim for your personal injuries means proving relevant elements of your case. Along with proving pain and suffering, the law also requires you to assign value to it. A personal injury lawyer from our firm can help you identify and locate the at-fault party, accurately decide the value of your claim and fulfill every part of your case, including proving your pain and suffering.
You deserve to rest and recuperate after suffering injuries. Let Ben Crump, PLLC handle the legal legwork. We can investigate your accident, gather evidence of your damages, and fight for what you deserve.