What Is Pain And Suffering In An Injury Claim?

Pain And Suffering
Madeleine Jones
July 13, 2020

If you’ve been in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence and you’ve suffered personal injuries, you may be able to receive compensation for pain and suffering. Both physical and emotional. Every personal injury case varies. Each has a unique set of circumstances and facts that affect the calculations regarding compensation.

What Are Pain And Suffering Damages?

Pain and suffering damages in personal injury cases are the compensation you get for having to endure or go through physical and emotional pain and suffering. If it weren’t for this injury you wouldn’t have gone through it. There is no exact science or measurement to calculate damages. Courts look at the evidence presented in the case and then they determine what would be fair given the victim’s circumstances.

An Example Of Pain & Suffering In An Injury Claim

For example, a mother who is now unable to pick up their kid again. She continues to experience pain and suffering, the emotional type. There medical conditions like traumatic brain injuries that can be permanent. These are non-economic damages for which a person should receive compensation from the person who caused the accident.

How To Prove Pain And Suffering In An Injury Case

If you’re claiming for other damages like compensation for medical bills and lost wages, these are very easy to identify and calculate. However, pain and suffering are often part of a personal injury claim and they receive damages as well. For them to be considered by the court it is critical to provide the documentation and evidence necessary to back up the true pain you went through because of your accident.

What you need to recollect as evidence:

  • Keep track of all your doctor visits, including therapy sessions and document them.
  • Any notes or written opinions by mental health professionals. For example, the extent and nature of your condition and how it will impact your life after the physical injury heals.
  • You should also include testimony and opinions from expert third-party medical witnesses that can verify the evidence your therapist provided.
  • Include a complete list of all the prescribed medications after the accident. If you were prescribed medications that must continue permanently, include it as well.
  • Make sure you provide proof of any permanent, disabling, and life-threatening conditions.
  • You should keep a journal of your daily life after the accident, including pain scales, how it has impacted your life and how it changed your ability to perform daily duties.
  • Get testimony from your friends and family where they detail your pain and suffering and how the accident is impacting your daily life.

All of this documentation can be extremely valuable and it can persuade an insurance company and/or a judge or jury that your pain and suffering from the accident has impacted parts of your life. Through this documentation, you can create sympathy towards real pain and suffering and it can help others understand just how painful your journey has been because of someone else’s negligence.

A person slumped down with their head in their knees going through emotional pain and suffering

How To Prove Future Pain And Suffering Damages

It is highly possible that you will continue to experience pain and suffering long after the accident. You can assign value to your future pain and suffering and have included in your claim. However, the Nevada Supreme Court has ruled that in some cases you require an expert witness to testify what these future damages are going to be. If these are not visible, like headaches or emotional trauma, you need an expert to say that your pain and suffering will continue. If these injuries are visible, then the expert is not required. 

How To Calculate Pain And Suffering Damages

Numerous factors are taken into account by insurance companies, judges and juries to try to calculate what type of damages can be awarded for pain and suffering. They frequently look at the following:

  • How egregious was the negligent behavior of the defendant
  • The victim’s injuries severity
  • How people with those types of injuries suffer physically and mentally
  • How these injuries are impacting your life
  • Your employment
  • Your health and how long it takes for the injury to heal
  • What medical treatments you have received and will continue to receive
  • What the prognosis of the injury can be

Like we mentioned before, each case that involves pain and suffering varies. These calculations are also subjective to every unique lawsuit. However, there are two types of calculations to determine how much compensation you can get.

The Multiplier Method

This method takes a number between 1.5 and 5 and then multiplies it by how much the personal injury case is. For example, if a personal injury case got damages for medical bills and lost wages for $15,000 and a judge chose a multiplier of 3, the non-economic damages for pain and suffering would be a total of $45,000. 

To determine which multiplier number will be used in this method, the nature and severity of the accident and injuries has to be taken into account.

The Per Diem Method

Like the name of the method implies, this per diem method assigns a monetary value to each day the victim has suffered from their injuries. From the day of the accident to the day when they’ve medically improved the best. This is the day when the victim has completely healed or when a medical expert says they can’t reach any better health than that moment since the accident.

With both methods, the insurance company will attempt to use the smallest multipliers or per diem value, it can justify. However, your attorney should advocate for larger sums and multipliers that will reflect more accurately the full scope of your injuries, pain, and suffering. It is very important to know that neither method is required by law. In reality, other methods are used in some cases for calculating pain and suffering.

Is There a Limit On Pain And Suffering Damages?

Pain and suffering are somewhat hard to quantify in dollar terms. There are high probabilities that sympathetic juries abuse in major verdicts. Sometimes the verdict can be higher than the actual economic damage that happened as a result of the accident. However, Nevada has a limit on these damages to keeping it under control. These caps can reduce the probabilities of abuse. But, they also limit the available recovery for those who are really injured and are suffering from severe pain and distress.

Do you want to learn more about the personal injury claim process? Add your email below and we will send you our guide free of charge. It includes useful tips on things to avoid when going through a personal injury claim.

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Modified Comparative Fault?

Nevada has modified comparative fault laws. They limit the injured victim’s damage recovery in proportion to how much fault they had in the accident. If they are 50% or more at fault, they can’t recover any damages at all. A judge or jury set the percentages of fault. For example, if someone is injured in a car accident and they were speeding, they would be found to be 15% at fault. They would only recover up to 85% of damages. The other person involved in the accident would be more than 50% at fault. They wouldn’t be able to recover any damages.

Do Lawyers Always Demand Pain And Suffering Damages?

Yes, almost every time. Car accidents mostly involve serious injuries and they can cause a lot of pain for the victims. But, this doesn’t mean that every victim involved in a car accident is entitled to these damages.

Accident lawyers have to be very careful in reviewing a case. If they think you have a case worth pursuing, they will most likely make a claim for pain and suffering damages.

Are You Experiencing Pain And Suffering? Cogburn Law In Las Vegas Can Help!

If you are experiencing pain and suffering as a result of an accident, contact us today. Call (702) 748-7777 for a free consultation. Our experienced lawyers in Las Vegas can help you determine if you have a strong case. You don’t have to suffer alone, call us now and find out how Cogburn Law will fight for you.

Without a doubt, if I ever need a personal injury lawyer again, I would come back to Cogburn Law. I had no idea I could get compensation for the pain and suffering I endured because of my accident. They were extremely helpful and patient with me.

Christian D.