Personal injuries resulting from someone else’s negligence, not only affect victims physically but also emotionally and psychologically. These victims have the right to seek compensation for pain and suffering they have already experienced, as well as pain and suffering they may experience in the future.
The experienced Lafayette-based personal injury lawyers from Galloway Jefcoat discuss pain and suffering damages, including how to prove the existence of these damages and determine their value.
If you were injured by another’s negligence, call us today to learn how we may be able to help you manage the legal process. Our firm takes cases on contingency, so there are no upfront fees for our services.
We are ready to take your call and help you: (337) 984-8020.
What is Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering are the non-economic damages in an injury claim. They refer to the physical pain and mental distress you may experience after suffering an injury caused by another’s negligence or intentional actions. Pain and suffering can include a variety of physical issues, mental health challenges and damage to relationships. You can seek compensation for these damages in a personal injury claim against the at-fault party.
What is Physical Pain and Suffering?
Personal injuries are painful, and some can cause chronic, long-lasting pain that makes everyday life much more difficult. If you were injured by another’s negligence, you may be able to seek compensation for the physical pain your injuries cause, such as:
- Back pain
- Chronic headaches, such as from a head, neck or brain injury
- Pain associated with broken bones
- Pain in your muscles
- Neck pain, such as from whiplash or an injury to your spinal cord
- Nerve injuries
- Pain from severe burns
Chronic pain can dramatically affect your quality of life. You may struggle to sleep. While you are awake it may be hard to get comfortable when you are standing up or sitting down. Simple movements that you used to take for granted could become complicated.
What is Mental Pain and Suffering?
Personal injuries can cause severe psychological distress that lowers your quality of life. You may find it hard to participate in the activities you used to engage in, such as work, leisure activities and things you enjoyed doing with your spouse.
These are some examples of mental/emotional pain and suffering:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder, which can include flashbacks of the accident or avoiding situations that remind you of the accident
- Anger about permanent physical ailments and disabilities
- Depression or sadness, which is a common experience after suffering a spinal cord injury and becoming permanently paralyzed
- Changes in your behavior or personality following a traumatic brain injury
How a Personal Injury Could Cause Pain and Suffering
There are numerous examples of accidents that could lead to an injury that causes pain and suffering, including:
- Car accidents – Even seemingly minor car accidents could cause painful injuries that have physical and psychological effects. Accidents caused by speeding, drunk driving, distracted driving, drowsy driving and other forms of reckless driving behaviors often result in pain and suffering.
- Commercial truck accidents – These crashes often result in life-changing injuries, such as brain or spinal cord injuries.
- Burn injury accidents – If you suffer severe burns, you may suffer with chronic pain. You may also be permanently scarred and disfigured. These are severe injuries and can take a significant psychological toll on a victim, leading to depression, anxiety and other mental challenges. Burn injuries can occur in many situations, such as motor vehicle crashes and workplace accidents.
- Slip and fall accidents – While many people dismiss slip and fall accidents as minor, they can result in serious injuries, particularly if you hit your head. However, you could also suffer a severe fracture that is painful and prevents you from doing the things you used to do.
Evidence of Pain and Suffering Damages
Your medical costs and lost wages can be easily documented, down to the penny. The challenge with recovering compensation for pain and suffering is that these damages are difficult to quantify.
The value of your physical and emotional suffering is partially based on what you report to your doctors, combined with other evidence. Insurance companies are sure to challenge what you say about how much pain you are dealing with. That is why you need an experienced attorney to gather strong evidence that supports your claim.
Here are some examples of evidence and documentation your attorney may use to support the amount of pain and suffering damages included in your claim:
- Treatment notes from mental health professionals you have seen since the injury
- Opinions and notes from doctors about the severity of your injuries and how the injury is likely to impact your life
- List of medications you have been prescribed, including pain medications and mental health medications
- Medical records that include a diagnosis of a permanent or debilitating condition
- Testimony from your spouse and other friends and family members about how you have changed since the accident. For instance, your friends and family members can speak to your depression, anxiety and other mental health issues, along with the daily pain you experience.
- Journal entries you kept since suffering the injury in which you explain how your injuries have affected you physically and psychologically
- And more
If your lawyer files a lawsuit, you are going to need strong evidence to persuade a jury of the value of your pain and suffering.
How Can Your Lawyer Calculate the Value of Pain and Suffering?
There are many factors that play into assessing the value of a pain and suffering claim. Some of those factors may include:
- Severity of your injuries
- Whether you were injured by an intentional action or negligence that was particularly egregious
- The length of your recovery
- The long-term prognosis for your injury
- The types of medical treatment you need, including how invasive those treatments are
- Your ability to work after the injury
- The typical amount of pain and suffering people experience with the type of injury you have
The value of your pain and suffering is going to be based on the unique details of your situation. However, there are different methods attorneys may use to place a value on your pain and suffering.
One way to place a value on pain and suffering is to multiply the total value of your economic damages by another number, called a multiplier. The multiplier is somewhere between 1.5 and 5.
Per-Diem Method or Daily Rate Method
Another way to place a value on pain and suffering is to assign a specific amount of money to every day you experience pain and suffering. For example, if the amount is $10 then you would be seeking $10 for every day you experience pain and suffering until you reach the point of maximum medical improvement (MMI). MMI is the point at which you are fully healed or where your injuries are unlikely to heal any further.
Call Galloway Jefcoat to Discuss Your Pain and Suffering Claim
If you are experiencing significant physical pain and emotional suffering following an injury, you should strongly consider seeking help from a licensed attorney.
The attorneys at Galloway Jefcoat are prepared to review your situation to determine your options and the damages you may be able to seek. While medical costs are a large percentage of the compensation awarded to injured victims, pain and suffering can also be significant.
We have obtained millions for Louisiana injury victims at no upfront cost.
Galloway Jefcoat. Experienced Lawyers. Proven Results. Call (337) 984-8020.