Your lawyer may employ several methods to prove pain and suffering in your claim for personal injury or medical malpractice compensation. Some documents your lawyer may use to prove that your pain and suffering exist include:
- Medical bills
- Medical records
- Medical prognosis
- Expert testimony
- Pictures of your injuries
- Psychiatric records
Pain and suffering refers to a type of noneconomic 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.
Defining Non-Economic Damages for Financial Compensation
To prove pain and suffering as a result of an injury caused by another person, you must define and understand what constitutes pain and suffering under the law. Florida Statute §766.202 defines pain and suffering as a form of noneconomic damage that can also include:
- 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 that support your injuries 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 Qualify as Non-Economic Losses
Florida Statute §766.118 lists certain physical injuries as catastrophic when they occur as the result of an accident or injury caused by another person’s recklessness, carelessness, or negligent actions. Some of the 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. Share your medical records that document these injuries with your lawyer. 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. Working with a lawyer might help you accurately value your claim for compensation. 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 the event that caused your injuries.
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 action. They must then prove pain and suffering and assign a value to your pain and suffering and 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 a claim for 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 will need to 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 to 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 upon 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 calculated.
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 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.