What is Pain and Suffering, and Why Does it Matter for My Case?

When you have been injured in an accident, several factors play key roles in your case. You may hear several terms thrown around from your attorney or an insurance adjuster regarding your health and well being, and you may hear the term, “Pain and Suffering”. What is pain and suffering, and how does it play a role in your personal injury claim? In this article we will explain what pain and suffering is, and explain the importance of pain and suffering in your legal proceedings.

Defining Pain and Suffering

The term “Pain and Suffering” is often discussed but is rarely defined. So what is it? Pain and suffering encompasses the wide range of physical and emotional distress that you may experience after you have been injured due to another person’s negligent actions. In a personal injury case there are two types of damages. Tangible damages are damages that are easily seen. These can be physical injuries, or any property damage that you may have sustained. Pain and suffering is another type of damage, though it is intangible because you cannot see it but you know that the damage exists. These intangible damages may range from discomfort you may feel, or mental health issues that may arise. There are two key components of pain and suffering, these are:

Physical Pain

Physical pain does not entail just the scarring or bruising you may have suffered from after your accident. This can include any physical discomfort that you may feel, as well as any other symptoms that lie under the surface. These include things such as headaches. loss of balance, soreness, or agonizing pain. This encompasses everything from the initial pain at the time of the accident to the ongoing discomfort during your recovery, or even pain that endures continually as a result of your injuries.

Emotional Distress

Beyond physical pain, you may also endure emotional and psychological distress during, and long after your injury. These symptoms can manifest as anxiety, depression, fear, disturbances while sleeping, PTSD, and other mental health challenges stemming from the trauma of your accident.

The Importance of Pain and Suffering in Your Case

Pain and suffering can play a vital role in your personal injury case for a variety of reasons, these being:

Determining Damages

Pain and suffering can aid in determining the damages in your case. Most insurance companies place value on your case by the economic damages you received, including the amount of your medical bills or property damage to your vehicle or other property. Accounting for your intangible losses is crucial in seeking fair compensation, and a skilled personal injury attorney will make sure that everything is accounted for, including losses caused as a result of your pain and suffering.

Fair Compensation

A key role of pain and suffering is to ensure that you are properly compensated for your overall loses, not just your financial burdens. Pain and suffering recognizes that the consequences of an injury can extend well beyond the immediate incident, and that everything that you feel is accounted for in your case.

Quantifying and Valuing Pain and Suffering

Valuing pain and suffering is often the more challenging aspect of personal injury cases. Unlike medical expenses or lost wages, which have set monetary values, pain and suffering is very subjective and unique to you. Several factors are considered when determining the value of pain and suffering, including, among other tings, the following:

Severity of Injury

The more severe the injury you have, the greater the pain and suffering you will likely have. If you suffer a permanent life altering injury, or develop a permanent disability or scarring, this often results in higher compensation. Pain and suffering is often gauged, in part, by the amount of your medical bills. For this reason, it is important to follow the advice of your doctor, attend all of your medical appointments, and ensure that you are honest and accurate in reporting your pain levels to your treating physician. You should never undervalue the pain you are suffering, and you should always be honest when reporting your pain to your medical care providers.

Duration of Suffering

The longer that you experience pain and suffering, the higher the potential compensation. Chronic pain and long recovery periods are usually associated with greater damages.

Impact on Daily Life

Another aspect that an insurance company may place value on is how your injury affects your daily life. If your injury affects your ability to work, enjoy hobbies, or maintain relationships, the insurance company may place a higher value on your case.

Emotional Distress and Expert witnesses

Evidence of emotional distress, such as therapy or counseling records can be used to support your claim for pain and suffering damages. A medical expert or a mental health professional can provide these testimonies to help quantify the extent of your pain and suffering damages.

Pain and suffering is an extremely serious topic, if you are suffering from an accident that is not your fault it is crucial that you seek the help of an experienced accident injury lawyer. At LifeLaw Personal Injury our team of expert accident injury lawyers will help you through every step of the legal process, ensuring that you feel listened to and heard every step of the way. If you or someone you know has been injured be sure to contact LifeLaw Personal Injury for a free consultation, and to discuss your options further.