Your attorney may utilize several methods to prove the pain and suffering component of your personal injury claim after an auto accident.
Pain and suffering is a specific type of non-economic damages often included in personal injury claims.
Documentation used to prove pain and suffering include medical bills and records, expert testimony, pictures of your injuries, medical prognosis, and psychiatric records.
Discover in this guide how this type of non-economic loss is calculated in a personal injury claim.
What Are Non-Economic Damages for Financial Compensation?
When proving pain and suffering when another person causes your injuries, you should be clear what pain and suffering means. Pain and suffering is a form of noneconomic damages that can include:
- Mental or emotional distress
- Debilitating physical impairments
- Disruptions to normal day-to-day activities
- Physical deformities
Share your complete medical records pertaining to these injuries with your legal counsel. You may find that other injuries, as well as their long-term effects, are also classified as pain and suffering. This will depend on what caused the initial injuries.
Life-Changing Injuries Qualifying as Non-Economic Losses
The following types of injuries can be classified as catastrophic when they stem from an accident or an injury caused by the careless, reckless, or negligent actions of another person:
- Injuries resulting in total loss of eyesight
- Severe burns
- Traumatic head injuries
- Severe brain damage
- Loss of ability to effectively communicate
- Amputation of a deformed or severely injured limb
- Spinal cord injuries leading to partial or complete paralysis
- Forced infertility
- Loss of reproductive organs
All of these injuries are liable to induce forced changes to your employment and lifestyle that qualifies as legitimate pain and suffering. Share all relevant medical records documenting your injuries with your attorney. These medical records should also outline the circumstances that led to your injuries, as well as the anticipated recovery time.
Calculating Losses in Your Negligence or Personal Injury Claim
All car accident injury cases are different, and all cases have unique circumstances. When it comes to calculating your losses, working with an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you more accurately value your compensation claim.
Typically, personal injury claims include monetary awards in any or all of the following categories of financial award:
- Economic losses: Economic losses are straightforward to quantify. This type of damages is intended to compensate you for lost income, as well as future lost income, as a result of an inability to work after an auto accident. Wage stubs and proof of income can help strengthen your claim for economic damages. Your lawyer can advise you concerning the documentation you need.
- Non-economic losses: Non-economic losses include pain and suffering and physical disabilities, as well as either short-term or long-term inability to resume activities you enjoyed before the accident that caused your injuries.
- Punitive damages: If the at-fault party in the accident knew their negligence could be damaging but did so anyway, you may be eligible for punitive damages. If the at-fault party acted intentionally, punitive damages may also apply.
Your attorney must prove that the actions of the other party caused your injuries. From here, they must prove pain and suffering, as well as assigning a dollar value to that pain and suffering. They must also assign a dollar value to all other elements of your claim for compensation.
File a Claim for Your Pain and Suffering Immediately
All states have a statute of limitations on filing claims for civil lawsuits. This includes both pain and suffering claims and personal injury claims. Your lawyer can explain the length of the statute of limitations in your state of residence.
Filing either an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit is time-consuming. Your attorney can direct you to gather all necessary information and documentation, including:
- Medical records
- Medical bills
- Police reports
- Proof of income
- Witness statements
In some cases, your lawyer may need time to locate and identify witnesses to the accident that led to your injuries.
By contacting an experienced attorney immediately after attending to your medical needs, you can start building an effective case for the compensation you deserve without delay.
How Do You Establish a Reasonable Amount for Pain and Suffering?
Your personal injury lawyer will use either a multiplier method or a per diem method to calculate the amount of pain and suffering compensation you will claim.
With the multiplier method, your injuries are rated on a scale of 1 (the least severe) through 5 (the most severe). You multiply this number by the total of your economic and non-economic damages to arrive at a dollar value for your pain and suffering.
Using the per diem method, you are assigned a dollar amount per day from the time of the accident to the time of achieving MMR (maximum medical recovery).
How Do Insurance Providers Determine Pain and Suffering?
When your personal injury attorney negotiates your claim with the insurance adjuster, your damages for pain and suffering may be determined using either of the above formulas, or by a combination of these methods.
Your legal counsel will present evidence proving you are entitled to the amount of compensation you are claiming.
Proving Pain and Suffering to Improve Your Compensation Claim
To successfully claim for personal injuries caused by an auto accident, you’ll need to prove core elements of your case. You are legally obliged to prove pain and suffering, and you must also assign a value to that pain and suffering.
By retaining a good personal injury attorney, you should locate and identify all at-fault parties, accurately establish the value of your claim, and then prove pain and suffering beyond reasonable doubt.
[RELATED ARTICLE]: How Long Does Neck Pain Last After a Car Accident?