Little Known Ways Pain and Suffering Damages are Determined
You slipped and fell and injured various parts of your body. As far as you’re concerned, the pain and suffering are immeasurable. Sure, the diagnostic studies can show broken bones or herniated discs. But, is there a definitive means of testing for pain and suffering? Just how are pain and suffering damages determined?
All things considered, you may have some confusion concerning the word damages. What does it mean exactly? As a whole, personal injury damages refers to the total amount of an award or settlement a claimant receives as a result of a negligence claim. However, this term may be further broken down.
Some damages are easier to quantify than others. For example, you can show proof of your loss of income. You can also provide an accounting of your medical expenses. When you seek money under these circumstances, you are looking for special damages. You may hear your attorney colloquially refer to your medical bills and lost wages as “specials.” These numbers are instrumental in determining the value of your case.
Defining Pain and Suffering Damages
You most likely have your own ideas about what constitutes pain and suffering. We associate physical pain with many sensations. Pain can be chronic as well as intermittent. Different events can trigger pain episodes. In addition to the actual injury, some medical treatment may invoke pain.
A claim for pain is often accompanied by an assertion that the claimant has been made to suffer as a result of their injuries. This often includes emotional distress. Perhaps you have difficulties getting back into a car after a motor vehicle crash. It could be that you are in such physical pain that walking gives you anxiety. You may be depressed and losing sleep. All of these are suggestive that the accident has caused you not only pain but actual suffering.
Documenting Pain and Suffering Damages
Insurance companies can be cynical when it comes to demands for pain and suffering damages. Unfortunately, certain injuries do not show up on diagnostic studies. There is no true way to measure a claimant’s pain. Most are reliant on the notes of the treating medical providers and the accident victim’s history. Here are some items that are taken into consideration:
- Pain medications, including special injections, etc.
- Prescriptions to treat insomnia, depression, and anxiety
- Physical observations
- Patient’s self-assessment, i.e., on a scale of 1-10
- Extent of injuries
- Length of time it takes injury to improve
- Reaction to stimuli
- Patient’s affect
- Need for surgical intervention
- Physical and rehabilitative therapy participation
In some cases, it is harder to assess pain and suffering. Consider an infant who suffers birth injuries as a result of medical malpractice. Babies cry as a matter of course. What steps can be taken to prove pain and suffering?
For one, a review of medical records will reveal if the child was prescribed pain medications. There may be evidence of physical discomfort in the medical records that will serve to document pain and suffering.
You may have heard that a multiplier is applied to your specials in order to determine your pain and suffering damages. Although this may be true in some incidences, it is not an exact formula. The claimant’s credibility and consistency are both considered in any settlement offers.