Pain and Suffering is a phrase that you may have heard in regards to motor vehicle accidents or injury claims. You may know the phrase, but you might not know how it ‘works.’ We wrote this guide to explain briefly how attorneys might apply ‘pain and suffering’ in your personal injury case.
What Is Pain and Suffering?
You’ve probably heard of monetary damages. Pain suffering is a phrase used to describe all of the trials that a victim of an injury experiences. Those trials are often quite different from the quantifiable expense of medical bills. While you can measure the amount of money a doctor charges for your health care, some costs are much harder to measure. There are two basic types of pain and suffering:
Physical Pain and Suffering
This refers to the pain of the injured physical injuries.
These can include the discomfort and pain a victim has had to endure.
This category can also include future pain that can be reasonably expected as a result of the injuries. (For example, if your back is permanently disabled because of a faulty product, it’s reasonable to expect that your pain will continue long after the accident.)
Mental Pain and Suffering
Mental Pain and Suffering is also related to physical injuries. However, physical injuries also leave long lasting mental wounds. Some examples include mental anguish, emotional distress and long-term stress disorders.
You can think mental pain and suffering as the consequences of any negative emotions tied to the injury.
How Might Car Accident Victims Experience Pain and Suffering?
Let’s say someone got into a car accident, that caused a concussion and neck pain. Because this person is suffering from a mild traumatic brain injury, they become depressed, angry, and maybe have a hard time sleeping for many days in a row. Lack of sleep leads to more anxiety and anguish. Furthermore, that person may have a toddler or small child they care for. Their neck pain might prevent them from easily picking up or playing with their child.
The actual cost of medical bills are only a portion of what is endured because of a motor vehicle crash. These fairly drastic changes to lifestyle are something that should be considered while seeking compensation.
Calculating Pain and Suffering
This is where the concept of pain and suffering gets a little less straightforward. The calculation of pain and suffering is an imperfect system. There is no legal guideline that dictates certain emotional and mental trials are worth a certain amount of money. Arguing pain and suffering is where more advanced legal negotiations come into play.
The idea is that you take the amount of medical bills, and then multiply that by a number between 1.5-3. This is called a ‘multiplier.’ The ‘multiplier’ can provide a very rough estimate. This estimate can be helpful as it eliminates the subjective element of a very complicated question.
The “Multiplier” is best used in cases with lower amounts of medical bills, but is still not very effective. You and your lawyer can discuss if this is a method that is good for your individual personal injury case.
Pain and Suffering is a perfect example of why you want a lawyer who knows you well and knows your case inside and out. If your attorney chooses not to use the don’t use the ‘multiplier’ method, the damages will be reviewed case-by-case. An experienced personal injury attorney will treat your case in an individual manner and negotiation pain and suffering in a way that is in line with your injuries and your personal injury case.
Some of the factors that are evaluated include common sense evaluations of the extent of your injury. An attorney also looks at your emotional outcomes and considers how likely he or she is to find a sympathetic jury to hear your case. Your attorney can review these factors with you at length. There are likely many we haven’t explored here.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident, you’ll want to look for an attorney right away. Take advantage of the free consultations many personal injury attorneys offer. That way, you can be sure you’re working with a trusted Aurora personal injury attorney who has your best interests at heart.