From a personal injury standpoint, pain and suffering refers to the combination of physical pain and distress as well as emotional distress that an accident victim may suffer following their incident. Most personal injury claims will include compensation demands for pain and suffering.
It is important, however, to understand what pain and suffering entails. The term is often associated with false claims or outrageous compensation values.
In reality, pain and suffering is a real, legitimate compensation demand, but the compensatory value depends solely on the amount of physical and emotional pain one suffers following a serious injury.
After an injury, it is not uncommon for an individual to experience physical pain. Any bodily injury (whether to the head, extremities, muscles, joints, etc.) will cause pain. This pain may continue for weeks or become a chronic, long-term condition.
When it comes to determining the extent of a plaintiff’s pain, no computer software program can compute physical pain and damages associated with it. Also, everyone suffers from pain differently — and there are some that have a lower pain threshold than others.
Unfortunately, for a personal injury claim, that means that there is no universal tool to help determine the adequate compensation amount. Instead, Phoenix personal injury lawyers must communicate their level of pain and use a preponderance of evidence to establish their suffering, according to Nolo.
Emotional Distress Claims
Emotional distress is part of the pain and suffering category but differs from physical pain. Instead, emotional distress refers to the mental suffering an accident victim experiences following an incident.
Emotional distress is often viewed as a ploy to receive more compensation from the defendant or their insurer. However, it is a real injury following an accident. Phoenix personal injury lawyers can help their clients receive compensation for emotional distress by showing the severity and type of emotional distress they suffer.
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of appetite
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
It is not enough for a plaintiff to say they have these symptoms.
Instead, they must prove that these emotional distress symptoms are present. They can do so by giving examples or furnishing documentation from a psychotherapist treating them for their emotional distress.
Proving Pain And Suffering Through A Preponderance Of Evidence
Showing physical pain is often easier than establishing emotional distress. With physical pain, all that is needed is a person’s medical records. Medical records, such as X-rays, physician notes, and other diagnostic test results can establish that a person is in pain.
For emotional distress, however, a Phoenix personal injury lawyer may need to establish their client’s mental anguish in other ways.
FindLaw recommends using five different methods that can help establish the legitimacy of an emotional distress claim.
5 Ways To Establish Mental Anguish
- Proving that intentional actions or gross negligence was to blame for the incident.
- Showing that the plaintiff has suffered from persistent, recurring pain that will remain in effect for a long time.
- Showing that the plaintiff’s physical harm, such as headaches, ulcers, or other physical ailments are related to their emotional distress.
- Demonstrating that the plaintiff survived a horrific accident, which would undoubtedly lead to some form of emotional distress.
- Provide a note from a treating physician or psychologist.
Modifiers For Pain And Suffering Claims
A multiplier is often used to help determine the adequate compensation for pain and suffering. The multiplier can range from 1.5 to 4, which means that the pain and suffering value amount will be the compensatory damages multiplied by 1.5 to 4. The value of the multiplier used depends on several influencing factors. Also, the multiplier is a rough estimate and is not always accurate, according to AllLaw.
Other Factors That Influence The Value Of Pain And Suffering Compensation
- If the plaintiff is a trustworthy witness
- If the claimant is likeable
- If the claimant is credible
- If the plaintiff’s testimony is consistent
- If the plaintiff’s medical records and physician statements back up their claims of pain and suffering
- If the claimant’s diagnosis, injuries, or pain claims make sense to a judge or jury
- If the plaintiff has exaggerated their claims
- If the judge or jury thinks the plaintiff has lied about their injury
How Phoenix Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help
Pain and suffering are part of the normal compensatory damages an attorney will seek following an accident. Anyone experiencing physical pain or emotional distress following an injury should seek counsel from a personal injury attorney.
An attorney knows the burden of proof in these types of injury claims and can help establish a plaintiff’s pain and suffering. They also know how to negotiate with insurance companies to ensure the right multiplier is used to create a fair settlement.
Accident victims suffering from long-term pain and emotional distress can contact the Phoenix personal injury lawyers at Tobler Law. The team at Tobler Law understands that every person is different in how they handle stress, pain, and trauma. Contact them today for a no obligation consultation at 480-898-9700 or contact an attorney online.