Calculating pain and suffering is complicated, and based on many, many factors. Most states allow injured persons to recover pain and suffering as part of the damages as a result of someone else’s negligence. However, one of the most difficult aspects of personal injury law is calculating pain and suffering for an injury. Ultimately, calculating pain and suffering is up to a jury, based on all the evidence they hear in a trial. However, insurance companies and insurance adjusters also evaluate pain and suffering in hopes of reaching a settlement before trial.
Calculating pain and suffering is much more difficult than calculating damage to your property, or medical expenses. In calculating pain and suffering, you cannot simply show to a jury a medical bill or an estimate from a repair shop. For many soft tissue injuries, you cannot even show the jury a picture of the injury, such as an X-Ray of a broken bone. Even if you are able to show the jury an image of your injury, calculating pain and suffering is still elusive: how much did you suffer as a result of that injury? What is your pain and suffering worth to a jury?
As you probably are aware, people experience pain differently; pain that might prevent one person from getting out of bed may feel tolerable to another one person with the same injury. This difficulty is where a personal injury attorney can help you increase the value of your personal injury claim – by calculating pain and suffering based on your particular injury.
Factors for Calculating Pain and Suffering:
While this is by no means an exhaustive list, below are some the common factors that influence that an insurance adjuster, or a jury will use in calculating pain and suffering.
– The type of injury you suffered
– The severity of the accident causing your injury
– The amount of time it took you to rehabilitate from your injury
– The affect that your injury had on your daily life
– The affect that your injury had on your ability to work
– The affect that your injury may have on your future enjoyment of your life and work
– Whether you underwent surgery
– Whether you can visually demonstrate your injury to a jury
-Whether your doctor says your injury is permanent
-The total medical expenses you incurred as a result of your injury
-Whether you consistently sought treatment immediately after the accident
-What your medical records say about how much pain you are experiencing
All of these factors and others may be evaluated by a jury in calculating pain and suffering. However, prior to a jury calculating pain and suffering, usually the insurance company for the person responsible for your injury will also be calculating your pain and suffering, based on what they think a jury might do.
What Type of Information Does the Insurance Company Review?
In calculating your pain and suffering, the insurance company will review documents about your injury. These could include
– Medical records
– Medical bills
– Prescription records
– Photographs of your injuries
– Receipts for over-the-counter medications
– Statements from your doctors about the permanency of your injury
If you calculating pain and suffering appears confusing, you should contact a personal injury attorney to help you determine the value of your claim. Keep in mind that insurance companies are for-profit corporations that will not pay you pain and suffering if they do not have to. You will have to prove to them the value of your pain and suffering.
James Minick is a criminal defense attorney in Asheville, NC and is the owner of Minick Law, P.C.