Most people have heard of the term “pain and suffering,” but not many fully understand the concept, especially as it’s used in the legal sense. For those who have been injured and are pondering a personal injury lawsuit, this changes very quickly. Whether your injury came as a result of a car accident, medical malpractice, slip-and-fall, or other kind of accident, you would likely have a number of questions about pain and suffering and it’s role in your personal injury case.
So What Does “Pain and Suffering” Refer To?
The definition of “pain and suffering” has multiple components and includes both physical pain and suffering as well as emotional or psychological pain and suffering. Physical pain and suffering is easier for people to understand. It involves the victim’s immediate physical injury, but it also refers to the long-lasting physical effects that will color the victim’s life as a result of the negligence of the defendant. Keep in mind that physical pain and suffering is a completely different claim of damages than a claim for medical expense, though these are also usually part of a personal injury claim.
Emotional or psychological pain and suffering is so much more difficult for people to understand because there is usually not a visible marker for it. People who appear perfectly after recuperating from an injury may well still be suffering emotionally for years to come. Emotional pain and suffering can include any negative emotions arising from the trauma of an accident or from the injuries caused by an accident. Many people experience pain and suffering through the lens depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anger, sexual dysfunction, insomnia, or any other negatively impactful psychological state.
Doctors Play Key Role in Proving Pain and Suffering
There are no hard and fast rules on proving pain and suffering claims, but your doctor and medical records provide key context for any jury or insurance company reviewing your claim. Proving pain and suffering is virtually impossible if you did not initially seek medical care for your injuries. For this reason, the most important thing for you to do when injured is to be assessed by a medical professional right away. This is the safest for you physically, as it allows any injuries, including invisible injures, to be assessed and treated.
In addition to ensuring proper medical diagnosis and care, prompt medical assessment will provide key support for a pain and suffering claim. It’s important to document everything you are experiencing in the care of your injury, including symptoms, services and care received, doctor’s records, statements from the mental health professional who is treating you, receipts for prescription and OTC medication, and proof of lost wages. In addition, a personal pain journal can be very useful because it can show a history of your pain and the activities you have missed. Pictures of the injury over time can also be included.
The absence of a clear definition for pain and suffering and variances in the ways juries award damages for pain and suffering claims can be confusing. In order to ensure you are appropriately compensated for your pain and suffering, hiring an experienced personal injury is recommended. The personal injury lawyers at Rhoads & Rhoads have decades of experience working with injury victims who are successful in their pain and suffering claims. To find out how we can help you, call us today for a free consultation at 1-888-709-9329.