How to Prove “Pain and Suffering” in Your Claim

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It is common to hear the term “pain and suffering” in personal injury cases, and many people seek to include it with their compensation for medical costs. Unfortunately, “pain and suffering” has come to be associated with exaggerated claims, and some individuals tend to roll their eyes and minimize actual struggles that warrant the claims. Because of this, it is vital that you do whatever you must to prove your pain and suffering to the court. 

First things first, are you clear about what “pain and suffering” actually is? Let’s take a moment to clarify this and learn what it takes to prove “pain and suffering” in a personal injury claim.

What Is “Pain and Suffering”?

There is no clear definition of pain and suffering, but it is understood to be compensation for all of the physical pain and discomfort the plaintiff is suffering as well as the emotional stress, anxiety, and trauma that they have had to endure. It can address the small inconveniences that an injury causes the individual, such as an inability to carry heavy bags or open jars, to the mental anguish one might feel by losing the ability to play their favorite sport. These types of things are not simple to qualify, and although money will never really be able to make up for much of these, there are ways to quantify things so that you can get some kind of relief financially.

How Is “Pain and Suffering” Calculated?

Technically, there isn’t a standard method for calculating pain and suffering. It is separate from medical costs and lost wages. Understand that there are various factors taken into account in these calculations, such as hindrance and permanence of the injuries. Car insurance companies often use one of three methods:

  • Multiplier Method

In this method, the severity of injuries are ranked on a 1-5 scale, which is then multiplied with the total medical costs.

  • Per Diem Method

This method is based on a formula that evaluates the amount of suffering each day that is caused by the injury in addition to new limitations. When an estimated cost can be determined for each day, then it is multiplied by the number of days.

  • Estimated General Cost

This is simply based on a look at the overall time of suffering and limitations, and then a blanket amount is determined that is considered sufficient to cover the alleged pain and suffering.

These aren’t the only approaches, but they are the most commonly used. There are countless calculators available online, but one of the best ways to determine the best amount for your personal injury is to speak with a personal injury lawyer.

How to Ensure That Your Pain and Suffering Is Qualified

Recently injured and considering filing a lawsuit? Here’s how to make sure that your pain and suffering claims are taken seriously.

  1. Receive medical treatment immediately and DO NOT release your medical records to the other party’s insurance company. You need to make a point to really know what and how bad your injuries are, mentally and physically. Be sure to continue regular doctor visits until your doctor determines that you no longer need treatment. (The costs for this can be paid later via your compensation).
  2. Communicate with your insurance adjuster as you progress to not only raise your reserve, if necessary, but also to strengthen your case and show you have been open and dependable. With that said, DO NOT simply settle the case when the insurance adjuster wants to. Consult your lawyer.
  3. Make sure that you are knowledgeable about your damages (loss of car, loss of money, hired assistance for day-to-day tasks, etc.)
  4. Write detailed notes (like a diary or log) about pain, missed activities, medical treatment and your recollection of how your injury occurred.
  5. Keep all documentation related to your symptoms. That includes:
  • Photos taken when the injury occurred (and, if helpful, pictures of healing progress)
  • Written accounts from witnesses
  • Police reports, investigative reports
  • All receipts (medical, prescriptions and over-the-counter medications)
  • Medical reports
  • Medical bills that apply
  • Proof to show loss of wages or time missed in school

Legal Support Can Help

It is wise to ask a qualified personal injury lawyer to evaluate your case and guide you along as you determine the right amount to seek for your pain and suffering. Every move matters in court, and high balling or low balling this part of your claim could actually result in less compensation that you are truly entitled to. In addition to helping you determine the right amount to seek, a lawyer can help you make sure that all of your bases are covered to prove your pain and suffering and offer their expertise to help you craft your demand letter. Contact a personal injury lawyer now to support and assist you with your case and, if necessary, represent you if your case goes to trial.

Author: David Klibaner

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