One of the most complex parts of a personal injury case is the pain and suffering determination. Pain and suffering is an open-ended term that's easy to misunderstand. Unfortunately, this leaves many injury victims believing that they're entitled to money that the courts simply don't award. Here's a look at what you should know about pain and suffering and how it might apply to your case.
What Exactly Is Pain and Suffering?
The phrase "pain and suffering" is used to encompass a variety of things. For example, it's often used to refer to things like mental trauma such as post-traumatic stress, grief and even a reduction in your general quality of life.
How Can You Prove Pain and Suffering?
Provide medical records that detail the extent of your injury and how that has affected your daily life. Consider including statements about any effect it has had on your career, your family life, and your emotional condition. If you're seeing a medical professional for insomnia, depression or other problems since the accident, have documentation of that treatment, too.
How Do You Determine The Financial Award?
There are two basic methods that attorneys use to determine how much to request for pain and suffering. The multiplier method relies on multiplying your medical expenses by a rate determined by the severity of your injury. If the injury is minor and you haven't lost much work time, you may use a lower multiplier than if you're going to be out of work for months or longer and suffered a severe injury.
A per diem calculation, on the other hand, is based on a specific award amount per day during your recovery. The calculation starts with the day of the accident and the attorney (click here for more about this topic) will continue the calculation to the time when you are expected to recover. If your doctors have suggested that you'll be another year from the current date before you recover, the attorney will base the calculation on that year plus whatever time has already elapsed since the accident.
"Pain and suffering" is a complex calculation, because it's based on the effects of the accident, not your injury itself. If you're considering asking for an award based on pain and suffering as part of your case, talk with your attorney to see if you have enough evidence to support the claim. If so, he or she will help you arrive at a proper number using one of the methods discussed here. Then, you can negotiate the settlement with the insurance company or take the case to court.