When an accident victim has been injured because of the negligence or carelessness of another, they deserve to be compensated for their financial losses, including medical expenses and lost income. Additionally, they should be able to recover from the pain and suffering they endured because of their injuries.
“Pain and suffering” is a familiar term, though many people might not understand what it fully entails in the context of a personal injury lawsuit. Knowing how pain and suffering is defined and calculated is important in anticipating what a court might award or evaluating the reasonableness of a settlement offer. Below, we look at pain and suffering damages in more detail.
Understanding Pain And Suffering
If successful, a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit is awarded compensatory damages to reimburse them for their financial losses. Additionally, they could be awarded damages specifically for having to endure the emotional and physical pain and suffering that they would have otherwise never have experienced had they not been injured. Unlike one’s financial losses, there is no exact measurement or standard to calculate a person’s pain or suffering. Typically, courts will look at the evidence presented during the case to determine what is fair based on the circumstances.
For instance, a parent could be awarded a specific amount of money because they will never be able to hold their child again. Likewise, a person who suffers a permanent disability in an accident will usually be awarded pain and suffering damages far beyond the medical costs they incurred.
Common Examples Of Pain And Suffering Damages
Pain and suffering damages is a wide-open category of damages. Every accident victim will experience pain differently. Additionally, each individual’s unique situation will impact an injury’s effect. Below are some common examples of cases where pain and suffering damages are awarded.
One of the most straightforward and obvious reasons to file a personal injury claim is a physical impairment or disability. Proving that a plaintiff’s life has been significantly inconvenienced because of an injury or physical trauma is relatively easy. If you are unable to walk, move, or otherwise perform daily tasks, you should be appropriately compensated.
After a traumatic accident, your injuries might fully heal over time. However, those injuries could leave lifelong reminders of the pain you endured. Scars, burns, or lost limbs will impact the way people look at you and the way you feel about yourself for the rest of your life.
The Loss Of Quality Of Life
Injuries will affect accident victims in different ways. The more catastrophic the injury, the greater the impact. Days full of pain and constant physical therapy appointments will dramatically reduce your quality of life.
Loss Of Enjoyment Of Life
Quality of life is just one threshold. If your enjoyment of life has been significantly disrupted or limited, you should be compensated. In many cases, a hard line could be drawn between the time before and after an accident. After an accident, many victims are prohibited from participating in hobbies or activities they enjoyed because of the mental or physical trauma they suffered.
The pain that victims endure after an accident is often more than physical. Depression is real and, in some situations, could be paralyzing. Many injured victims find themselves emotionally and physically crippled due to overwhelming depression.
If your life was upended because of an unexpected and preventable injury, anger is an expected emotional response. However, some accident victims experience chronic anger that impacts their lives and those around them. In some cases, irrational and uncontrollable anger could result from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Unreasonable bursts of anger could also be an indication of a brain injury.
Anxiety is not depression. Accident victims often feel an overwhelming sense of dread, worry, or uneasiness that makes performing daily activities difficult. For example, a car accident victim might not be able to drive because of an underlying fear. Others might find themselves unable to respond the way they should when operating a vehicle. Anxiety can lead to other mental and physical issues, such as insomnia. This will all be factored in by you Columbia car accident lawyer.
Loss Of Consortium
If your injury is severe, it could impact your ability to interact with your spouse. When an injury negatively affects one’s ability to emotionally or sexually connect with their spouse, they could recover for loss of consortium.
Loss Of Companionship
Companionship is a vital part of human relationships. It goes beyond the relationship of married couples. A devastating injury could result in a loss of security, affection, guidance, and general emotional support. An accident victim could easily find themselves unable to provide care and support to their spouse, children, or parent.
Calculating Pain And Suffering Damages
Every personal injury case is unique. Therefore, calculating pain and suffering is also a challenge. These types of damages are, by their nature, very subjective. However, there are two methods commonly used by Columbia personal injury lawyers to determine pain and suffering for injury cases.
The Multiplier Method
The first method is referred to as the “multiplier method.” This calculation relies on a multiplier, usually between one and five. To determine pain and suffering damages, the plaintiff’s economic losses are multiplied accordingly. For instance, if your total medical costs and lost wages for a broken leg were $6,000, a judge or jury could determine that your pain and suffering damages should be determined by a multiplier of three.
Therefore, your non-economic damages would be $18,000. Several factors will influence what multiplier is appropriate, including the severity of the injuries, the length of physical rehabilitation, and the lifelong impact of the injury.
Per Diem Method
The other method to determine pain and suffering damages is known as the “per diem method.” Under this method, a specific monetary value will be assigned to each day the accident victim suffers from their injuries. More specifically, this amount will be applied to each day between the date of the injury and when the victim achieves maximum medical improvement.
In personal injury cases, maximum medical improvement represents the day when a victim is fully healed or, based on the opinion of a medical expert, the date they will no longer improve based on the current medical treatments available.
Pain and Suffering Are As Debilitating As Physical Injuries
An accident victim suffers more than physical injuries. In many cases, the emotional, mental, and pain associated with an injury are more debilitating than the physical injury itself. Pain and suffering is much more than feeling upset or uncomfortable. An experienced personal injury will advocate for your just compensation.
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