Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering?



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If you are injured in an accident and another party is at fault, their insurance pays for your medical care. It covers hospital bills, surgeries, prescriptions, physiotherapy, and more.

Requesting compensation for those bills is relatively straightforward because there’s a hard and fast number. Your treatment cost this amount, so insurance pays this amount.

But your costs may not be limited only to your medical bills. Lost income, the inability to do your job after an injury, or mental anguish also cost money even if you can’t get a statement from your hospital billing department.

If you believe you deserve more than medical bill coverage, you can sue for pain and suffering. What is pain and suffering, and how much can you get? Learn more about how to sue for damages right here.

What is Pain and Suffering?

“Pain and suffering” is a broad legal term used to describe damages that fall outside your medical bills or property damage.

You might request pain and suffering to describe:

  • Emotional grief
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder and other post-trauma conditions
  • Persisting injuries, like nerve damage or amputations
  • Loss of future income as a result of the injury
  • Loss of time with family or destruction of relationships

Even though the term is purposefully broad, pain and suffering claims cannot be.

You must be as specific and articulate as possible when you seek pain and suffering damages. It is crucial to be able to prove the condition or injury to not only win but receive the correct award.

How Lawyers Calculate Pain and Suffering

Calculating pain and suffering isn’t easy. The insurance company processing your claim uses an algorithm that identifies the amount it believes appropriate based on your property damage or cost of medical treatment.

Attorneys and insurance companies calculate pain and suffering one of two ways. The first is to multiply your losses (out of pocket costs like medical bills, lost income, property damage, etc.) by a factor of 1.5 to 5. Higher numbers usually accompany more severe injuries with a five coinciding with an amputation, disfigurement, or permanent disability.

The second way to calculate pain and suffering is the use of a daily rate or “per diem.” The figure is less grounded than the multiplication method because it doesn’t start with the fixed costs of your loss. Instead, you nominate and then justify the daily rate that you feel is reasonable

For example, if you earn $200 a day at work, then you might choose this figure as a per diem. Other alternatives include your cost of living: how much does your mortgage/rent, food, insurance, medication, and other essential bills cost you per day?

Remember that there are no strict rules for calculating pain and suffering. That means that you have leeway to ask for extensive sums when liability is clear, and you suffered an excessive amount.

How to Document Pain and Suffering

If you want to sue for pain and suffering damages, the likelihood of your success depends on your ability to prove your experience.

Documentation is incredibly necessary, and you should start collecting it from the time of the accident, even if you don’t think about suing right away.

The documentation provides a written record. It also helps you be as specific as you can when giving evidence to your lawyer or this injury lawyer or the court.

What kind of documentation do you need?

An Injury Log

First, you need a log of your injuries, including injuries sustained before the accident. If you can prove you were healthy and injury-free before the accident, you create a more compelling case. You should keep all police reports, medical bills, treatment plans, and test results to provide for evidence. If you can submit pre-existing reports (such as annual physicals), this will also bolster your claim.

Don’t forget to take photos of your injury throughout the healing process.

Daily Journal

Second, keep a daily journal. Describe your pain, the healing process, and note the limitations you face during the period. For example, if you are too sore to pick-up and hold your young child, write it down. If routine tasks like doing dishes or even taking a shower are too much for you, document why and how it hurts.

Daily voice notes also work instead of a journal, mainly because they offer a time-stamp.

A sleep journal is also a good idea if you experience any disruption to your sleeping pattern. Whether the cause of your poor sleep is emotional or physical, note it down. If you wake up regularly, consider creating sleep notes when you wake up to identify what woke you up and what feelings you have.

Evidence from Your Job

Third, keep a record of changes at work, if you can return. If the injury now prevents you from completing essential tasks that you previously engaged in, keep a note of it. Consider asking for documentation from a manager or colleague to support your claims.

For example, if you have a persistent headache aggravated by computer screens, which are required for you to do your job, write this down. Also note any modifications made, if any, to allow you to do your job.

Other Specialist Evidence

Your testimony and evidence from those around you are the most important documents you can provide. However, it is also helpful to get the opinion of an expert in a field related to your injury. They can testify to the cost of pain in general and provide explanations of your pain that you may not have the language for.

Sue for Pain and Suffering to Get the Compensation You Deserve

A significant accident comes with serious complications that aren’t resolved by paying your medical bills. Pain and suffering damages exist to compensate you for all the other losses you experience after an injury.

If you sue for pain and suffering, you must be able to be specific and provide evidence of your claim. Without evidence, even a modest proposal could get dismissed by the court.

Were you injured in an accident? Visit our Hometown Specialists page to learn more about the local help available to you.

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