How is Pain and Suffering Calculated in Personal Injury?
After sustaining an injury as a result of someone else’s fault or negligence, a personal injury lawsuit may be brought to allow the injured person to recover for the damages they suffered.
Damages in a personal injury lawsuit consist of past and future medical expenses and lost income. Damages can also involve payment for past and future pain and suffering.
What is Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering generally includes everything other than economic loss such as lost income and medical expenses. Pain and suffering damages provide compensation for the physical and emotional consequences of the injury. Considerations include:
- Physical pain
- Emotional injuries
- Pre-impact terror
- Loss of the ability to enjoy life
- Loss of ability to perform daily tasks
- Loss of the ability to participate in pre-injury activities
- Loss of the ability to experience the pleasures of life
Let’s look at an example. John Smith is involved in a motor vehicle crash. He is t-boned by a truck driven by ABC Company. In this accident, John breaks his left arm, and he has surgery. He suffers a permanent loss of use of his arm. Unfortunately, John is left-handed.
So, how is pain and suffering compensation calculated for John?
The judge or jury would look at the pain that John suffered while sustaining the injury. This includes the pain he suffered from surgery, treatment, and recovery. The permanent residual pain he was left with after he recovered would also be taken into consideration.
In terms of suffering, there would be additional considerations, including:
- John lost his ability to fully enjoy and participate in his life, (This is a primary consideration in evaluating pain and suffering.)
- John was an avid fisherman, and he can no longer fish.
- John cannot pick up his 3-year-old daughter anymore or play catch with his ten-year-old son.
- John can no longer complete the wood-working and home improvement projects as he did before the crash.
- John was temporarily or permanently unable to get himself dressed, cook, clean, mow the lawn, shovel the driveway, or take care of other tasks he did before the accident.
For more serious injuries, a person may be admitted to the hospital or unable to leave their home for extended periods. Someone with a traumatic brain injury, extensive orthopedic injuries, or other head injuries may no longer be able to carry out their daily functions and take care of themselves. A person in this situation would have significant damages for consideration of pain and suffering compensation.
What is the Average Payout for Pain and Suffering?
There is no average payout for pain and suffering. Each case is unique. Prior cases and reported settlements, verdicts, and arbitration awards as well as our experience handling all types of injury cases helps us evaluate pain and suffering for your case.
Determining how pain and suffering is calculated in each case depends upon the evidence available in a particular case. Proof of pain and suffering can be difficult. The easiest place to start is with medical records outlining the symptoms and treatment that an injury victim has suffered.
Often testimony is necessary to explain and understand how a person’s life has changed because of their injury. Expert witnesses may be called to comment on this as well, in addition to third-party witnesses such as friends or relatives.
If you have been injured in an accident and want to talk to one of our attorneys, contact Lewis & Lewis today at (716) 854-2100 or click here to get started with a free case evaluation.Get Help Now