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Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering?

October 1, 2021 By Flora Templeton Stuart

If you were injured in an accident, you may be entitled to a claim for pain and suffering. Generally, you will need to establish liability (fault of the other person) and suffer a physical injury. Medical treatment is the best indicator for insurance companies and juries in establishing a pain and suffering claim. At Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers, we refer our injured clients to excellent physicians so they can obtain the treatment needed for recovery and documentation for their pain and suffering.

What’s In This Guide

What is Pain and Suffering?

Pain and suffering describe both emotional and physical injuries sustained by a victim after an accident. Any substantial mental distress or physical pain that one suffers after an accident may qualify as pain and suffering for compensation reasons.

Physical pain and suffering is the actual physical pain resulting from injuries. It includes the pain and discomfort you’ve endured from the accident, as well as the detrimental effects that you are likely to suffer in the future. Examples of physical injuries that may qualify for pain and suffering are neck pain, nerve damage, back pain, traumatic brain injury, headaches, paralysis, organ damage, dislocated joints and broken or fractured bones.

On the other hand, mental pain and suffering is any negative feelings that you suffer due to physical injuries from an accident. It includes loss of life or enjoyment, anger, grief, humiliation, fear, shock, anxiety, emotional distress and mental anguish. Depression, lack of energy, loss of appetite, sexual dysfunction and PTSD can also happen due to mental pain and suffering.

Both mental and physical pain and suffering can cause injuries that may stop you from working again even when the injuries heal. In this case, you may claim additional costs related to the pain and suffering, such as lost income. If you or a loved one dies due to the injuries, the wrongful death claim may also include loss of consortium.

How Lawyers Calculate Pain and Suffering

It is not easy to quantify general damage. However, lawyers use two approaches to calculate pain and suffering as part of injury settlement. These are the multiplier method and the daily rate (per diem) method.

Calculate Pain and Suffering

Use a Multiplier

The multiplier method involves summing up all your incurred economic losses due to the injury and multiplying them by a number between 1.5 and 4 or 5. This number (referred to as the multiplier) depends on a range of factors related to your case. Such factors include the severity of your injuries, the impact of these injuries on your daily life, your prospect for a quick and complete recovery and whether or not the defendant was evidently at fault for the accident. Insurance companies often multiply the total by three because they believe this will cover any pain and suffering caused by the injury.

Your Kentucky and Tennessee lawyers already know this and will often apply it in your case to provide an estimate of how much the insurance will want to compensate you for the pain and suffering after an accident. However, since not all cases are created equal, a good lawyer will thoroughly prepare and argue for the best possible settlement result. In some cases, they will even prepare your case to win at a trial, helping you get the maximum settlement for your injuries.

Use a Per Diem Fee

The per diem method is another common approach to calculating pain and suffering. Per Diem means per day and the method seeks to demand a specific amount for each day you had to live with the pain and suffering resulting from the accident. The insurance company will determine the number of days you’re likely to be in pain or discomfort and then apply your daily pay rate to the equation. They’ll then multiply the days of pain by your daily pay rate.

Our lawyers can also use a comparative negligence system when calculating pain and suffering. The method analyzes whether your behavior helped cause the accident. Depending on your contribution of fault, your damage settlement could be lowered.

How to Document Pain and Suffering

You’ll need to document evidence for both your pain and suffering to establish physical or mental pain and suffering. This evidence may include photographs, medical evidence, personal documentation of pain and health care professional’s notes. It may also include any written or documented expert opinion that can show the intricacies of pain and suffering in general.

  • Photo and video: Take a series of photos capturing the healing process over time. This is critical as some injuries may not be visible after the accident but surface later on. It will also give the insurer an idea of how extensive your injuries are and help them determine an appropriate payout estimate. Videos can also help you show how your life was before the accident and after. You want to document all the efforts made to rehabilitate from injury, like taking part in physical therapy, injections, surgery, and so on.
  • Medical records: This includes things like consultation and tests, diagnosis summary, treatment plan, medication list, medical bills, medical equipment, if any, and therapy progress notes. These medical records will help you build a claim for pain and suffering damages.
  • A medical expert or professional testimony: While not a necessity, medical expert testimony can convince and potentially counter any professionals provided by the defendants. You can get this testimony from your therapist, surgeon or even a mental health expert.
  • Journal: Note down how you feel and how the injuries are healing. Capture things like bruising, soreness, stiffness, and any discomforts arising from the injury. If you go back to work and realize your injuries make it hard to perform your usual task, describe the task and how it hurt doing it. Don’t forget to include any time off you have to take because of the injury.

The more evidence you can provide, the more the judge, jury or insurance company will be able to see the negative impacts of pain and suffering on your life in ways that can’t be seen through medical bills.

Why Hire Flora Templeton Stuart To Get Pain & Suffering Damages?

Flora on phone with clientDon’t suffer in silence if you sustain an injury due to someone else’s negligence or carelessness. Sue for pain and suffering to get the compensation you deserve. Our advice would be to work our experienced lawyers before trying to file a personal injury claim. Insurance companies might reach out to try to settle things fast, but they rarely have your best interest at heart.

Having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side is your best shot at getting maximum compensation for your injuries. A lawyer has the education and experience to handle this type of work. They’ll be your guide throughout the process and ensure you don’t do anything that would jeopardize your claim. We take the stress out of the process and ensure you get compensated accordingly. We will travel to you if you cannot come to us and put our 45 years of experience to work for you. Contact us today to get your free case evaluation. We get paid nothing unless we recover for you.

Author Photo

Flora Templeton Stuart

Flora Templeton Stuart is the lead attorney and founder of the law firm Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers, established in 1976. She is a nationally recognized personal injury lawyer with over 40 years of experience. Her story has been featured on Fox, The New York Times, ABC, Time, and NBC.