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How Much Is Your Pain And Suffering Worth

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If you have been injured in an accident, you already know that the pain from your physical injuries isn't the only thing you need to contend with.  Traumatic events can cause lingering psychological effects that can affect you for years to come.

A personal injury lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve after an injury in an accident. You may be entitled to compensation for current and future medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Medical costs and lost wages are relatively easy to calculate, but pain and suffering is more subjective. Here's what you need to know about compensation for pain and suffering as a result of an accident.

What is pain and suffering?

Pain refers to the pain from a physical injury, such as nerve damage, broken bones or severed digits. This includes current and future pain. For example, if you suffered irreversible nerve damage that causes you to experience physical pain, that will be considered too.

Suffering typically refers to the mental anguish you experience as a result of the accident. This may include psychological conditions like PTSD, embarrassment, humiliation, fear or isolation. It may also be from the inability to perform activities you enjoyed prior to the accident. For example, a loss of eyesight may dash the dreams of photographers or artists, while the loss of hearing may end the career of a musician.

How do you prove pain and suffering?

Your lawyer will help you gather the documents you need to verify the pain and suffering you have (and will) experience due to the accident.

  • Documenting Pain: To prove physical pain your lawyer may rely on the testimony of expert witnesses, provide medical records and your doctor's verification of the injuries, testimony from family and friends and records from any medical facility that treated you.
  • Documenting Suffering: Proving the degree of suffering the injury has caused is a little trickier as each person's perception of suffering differs. Generally, it involves making a case that the accident has caused you psychological distress. Psychological evaluations, treatment records, and assessments from clinical settings can be used to document psychological suffering. In the case of lost dreams or the inability to participate in activities, documentation of prior involvement should be presented. This may include photography or artwork you have created, sports awards you earned, or other proof of your participation in the activity.

How is compensation for pain and suffering calculated?

There is no universal formula for attributing a dollar value to pain and suffering. The monetary amount is left for the jurors to determine. Insurance adjustors often use a multiplier to determine how much they feel your pain and suffering is worth. This multiplier amounts to between 1.5 and 5 times your medical costs. For example, if your medical costs are $12,000 the monetary value of your pain and suffering will range between $18,000 and $60,000. However, your compensation may be much higher if several of these conditions are met:

  • Medical documents verify the injury
  • The other party was clearly and/or entirely at fault
  • The injury causes prolonged pain
  • Recovery will take more than six months
  • The injury is permanent

If you sustained serious injuries in an accident, call a personal injury attorney right away for more info. He can guide you in the process and help you gather the documentation you need to support your case. Remember that when your case goes to court, the jury will base their assessment on both how well your lawyer presents the case and how believable you are perceived to be. Dress appropriately and follow your attorney's advice when speaking to the court.