What is Pain and Suffering?
If you were recently injured in an accident and are now pursuing a personal injury claim, chances are you have heard the term “pain and suffering” in regards to your case. This is a key element in just about any injury-related insurance claim or lawsuit, so understanding what it means and how it can impact the outcome of your settlement is important.
Defining Pain and Suffering
There are actually two types of pain and suffering involved in an injury claim – mental and physical pain and suffering. We will define both types below:
- Physical pain and suffering: This includes more than just the physical pain and discomfort of one’s injuries to date, but the painful effects of them that he or she will continue to experience in the future as a result of the accident.
- Mental pain and suffering: This type of pain and suffering is less straightforward than the physical pain associated with an injury. It is the by-product of the bodily injuries one sustains, such as mental anguish, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, anger, fear, anxiety, humiliation, and even shock. It essentially encompasses every negative emotion the injured party experiences as a result of their physical pain and trauma. Severe cases of mental pain and suffering can also include depression, loss of appetite, lack of energy, sexual dysfunction, mood swings, changes in sleeping patterns, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Examples of Pain and Suffering
No two experiences are alike, but to better understand how an accident can cause a victim to experience pain and suffering, we will go over some examples to better define it:
If someone was involved in a car accident that resulted in several broken bones and a concussion, this would be considered a severe accident. In addition to the physical pain of these injuries, the survivor could also become depressed and angry, experience difficulty sleeping, and suffer a substantial loss of appetite. To address these issues, the survivor visited a psychologist and a therapist. Given that all of these problems are related to the accident, the injured party would be entitled to compensation for the mental pain and suffering that was caused by it.
If someone was involved in a car accident that was comparatively less severe and suffered a back strain, preventing the injured party from exercising for several weeks and ultimately impacting the individual’s ability to continue to prepare for a marathon, this could also result in mental pain and suffering. Due to the fact that the injured person was unable to continue to train for the marathon, the claimant became angry, frustrated, unhappy, and somewhat depressed. While the details of this case are not as severe as the previous example, it would still qualify as mental pain and suffering.
Factors Used in Calculating Pain and Suffering
Unlike actual financial costs associated with an injury, such as medical treatment, medication, physical therapy, and other expenses associated with recovery, calculating pain and suffering is often tricky to do and there is no universal method for accomplishing it. In some cases, the “multiplier” approach is used. This method takes the total of the injured victim’s medical bills and lost earnings and multiplies it by a number between 1.5 and 4. The multiplier that is chosen is generally indicative of the pain and suffering one experienced.
Other factors considered when calculating pain and suffering include:
- If the plaintiff is a good witness
- If the plaintiff is likeable
- If the plaintiff is credible
- If the plaintiff’s testimony regarding the accident is consistent
- If the plaintiff appears to be exaggerating his or her claims regarding pain and suffering
- If the plaintiff’s physician supports his or her claims regarding pain and suffering
- If the plaintiff has a criminal record
- If it seems that the plaintiff lied about something
- If the plaintiff’s diagnosis, injuries, and claims make sense to the jury
Personal Injury Attorney in Las Vegas
If you were injured in an accident that was caused by the negligent actions of another party, you need to obtain skilled representation as soon as possible to ensure you receive maximum compensation for your injuries. At Shook & Stone, our Las Vegas personal injury attorneys have over 85 years of experience and are equipped with the knowledge and insight that is necessary to effectively represent you.
Get started on your case today and contact our law office at (702) 385-2220 to request your free initial case evaluation with one of our compassionate personal injury attorneys!