The phrase “pain and suffering” refers to a legal term that describes both the physical and emotional injuries suffered by a victim following an accident. Any substantial physical pain or mental anguish you suffer following an accident may qualify as pain and suffering for settlement purposes. In some cases, if a victim dies from a personal injury accident due to someone else’s negligence, the family’s wrongful death claim may also include loss of consortium.
Physical Pain and Suffering
Personal injuries that occur following accidents due to someone else’s negligence may not only be substantially painful, but also could last for days or much longer. The pain from these injuries can be permanent. Chronic pain lasts for weeks, months, or even years, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Some examples of physical medical conditions that may qualify for pain and suffering compensation include:
- Back pain
- Traumatic brain injury
- Neck pain
- Broken or fractured bones
- Internal organ damage
- Nerve damage
- Pulled or sprained muscles
- Dislocated joints
These medical conditions may last for years or even become permanent, leaving a victim with constant physical pain.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-730-1331
Emotional Pain and Suffering
Emotional pain and suffering after an accident may also result in severe mental and psychological distress and could last days or years. Chronic mental anguish following an accident can result in debilitating pain and suffering. Some examples of emotional pain and suffering include:
- Psychological trauma
- Cognitive changes following a head or brain injury
- Loss or diminishment of the quality of life
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
The emotional pain suffered by victims following any personal injury is often severe and can cause lifelong permanent damage.
Loss of Consortium
In some cases, a personal injury accident results in the victim’s death. In these cases, the family brings a wrongful death claim on behalf of their loved one to hold the negligent person accountable for their actions, as well as receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages of the deceased, and also for loss of consortium.
Loss of consortium is a type of pain and suffering experienced by family members following the death of their loved one. Due to a family’s grief and mental anguish following a preventable accident, they may receive special awards for the pain and suffering felt by the remaining family members grieving their loved one. Some examples of loss of consortium may include the loss of:
- Parental guidance
- Spousal intimacy
- Love and affection
- Household services
This is not an exhaustive list of compensation you may be able to recover from the loss of consortium.
Calculation of Pain and Suffering
Every personal injury case is different, and therefore, the calculations regarding pain and suffering will depend on the facts and circumstances of each case. However, you can calculate pain and suffering in a personal injury case in two different ways.
The multiplier method is when the actual damages (such as medical bills, lost wages, etc.) total a specific amount and are then multiplied by a number that depends on the severity of your injury to determine the pain and suffering calculation amount for the victim. The multiplier is usually between one and five.
Per Diem Method
The per diem method is the assignment of a specific dollar amount to every day from the day of the accident to the day the victim reaches maximum medical recovery. Maximum recovery is when a medical professional does not expect a victim’s condition to improve any further.
An insurance company may use other methods to calculate pain and suffering than the two mentioned above.
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Proving Pain and Suffering
To establish either physical or emotional pain and suffering, documentation and evidence must support the claim. This evidence may include:
- Doctor’s notes
- Medical evidence
- Personal journals that document the victim’s pain
- Therapist or mental health counselor’s notes
The more evidence provided, the more the insurance company, judge, or jury will see how this accident negatively impacted the victim’s life due to pain and suffering. While you may be able to collect most of this evidence yourself, you may benefit from hiring a lawyer to help you with the case while you focus on your recovery.
Contacting a Personal Injury Attorney’s Team
If you suffered injuries in an accident, you might have not only medical bills and lost wages, but also pain and suffering following your accident. Contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC at 800-730-1331 to learn how we determine what qualifies as pain and suffering and how it relates to your personal injury or wrongful death case. Call our team for a free consultation and to ensure your legal rights remain protected.