What Qualifies as Pain and Suffering in Personal Injury Lawsuits?
Particularly in cases of severe injury, victims can suffer pain at the time of the injury — and long after achieving the fullest recovery possible. The law considers extensive residual pain and life changes caused by disability as pain and suffering, which often qualifies for compensation when accident victims can prove the negligent or willful acts of others caused the underlying accident.
Pain and suffering damages often significantly exceed the damages for expenses related to medical bills and lost work time. This makes sense considering the potentially far-reaching nature of pain and suffering, which can include
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Depression and other psychological disorders
- Reduced quality of life
- The effect of injury on your relationships with loved ones and friends
But determining a fair value on the immediate costs of an injury involves adding up the costs of medical expenses, lost time from work, the amount paid for personal care and other clear-cut expenses. Identifying fair compensation for pain and suffering involves less objective analysis and evidence.
The law often provides guidelines for calculating the predicted future loss of income based on past income and future benefits, age and other considerations. But finding ways to quantify pain and suffering losses requires extensive experience. To claim pain and suffering, you need support from a skilled personal injury attorney who can develop a convincing case and present it in out-of-court negotiations or before a jury.