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The Importance of Calculating Pain and SufferingMarch 1, 2020 0 Comment Category: Personal Injury
Pain and suffering in a personal injury lawsuit can be of two types: physical pain and suffering, and psychological pain and suffering. The former refers to the pain that the plaintiff experienced due to the injuries sustained in the accident. This includes the pain and discomfort that the victim is likely to suffer in the future as well. Mental pain and suffering, on the other hand, refers to the psychological by-product of the physical injuries sustained by the victim. This may include emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, anger, fear, humiliation, and shock.
Psychological pain and suffering can be any kind of negative emotion that the plaintiff suffers or could suffer because of the physical injuries as well as the trauma of the incident. In some cases, this may also include depression, anxiety, loss of appetite, sexual dysfunction, sleep disturbances, lack of energy, and mood swings. It is also seen that severe mental pain and suffering can even lead to post-traumatic stress disorder.
Why Include Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
As mentioned, pain and suffering can be of different types. If you were involved in a car accident and suffered multiple broken bones and a severe concussion, then it could lead to many serious consequences. You may feel depressed or angry, have difficulty sleeping, or experience a significant loss of appetite. This means that you will be referred to a psychologist as well as a therapist to treat your condition. As your mental damages are directly linked to the car accident, you are entitled to claim compensation for the pain and suffering due to the fault of the defendant.
In some cases, mental pain and suffering can be so severe that it could prevent you from driving again or returning to work even after the physical injuries are totally healed. Your depression and anxiety issues may linger long after the concussion and broken bones are healed. In such instances, you may be eligible to claim compensation for lost income as well. Therefore, it is recommended to consult with an expert personal injury lawyer and explore all your options to file a lawsuit for claiming compensation for your damages.
How to Calculate Pain and Suffering
Even if the accident was not life-threatening and only led to shock and back strain, it could still lead to mental pain and suffering. Back pain may prevent you from exercising or taking part in your usual day-to-day activities, leading to unhappiness and a feeling of misery. Even though you may not need mental health assistance, the loss of enjoyment of life can significantly affect your mental state and lead to further complications like problems with frustration, anger, and depression. That is why you should take all the steps necessary to avoid such psychological problems. One of the simplest ways to do that and get a sense of compensation is by including pain and suffering in the lawsuit.
Generally, a multiplier is used to calculate a reasonable figure for the pain and suffering in personal injury lawsuits. This refers to calculating a multiple of the victim’s lost earnings and total medical bills, which are collectively known as special damages. The multiplier is typically considered to be around 1.5 to 4, which means that the value of the settlement for pain and suffering will be 1.5 to 4 times that of the special damages. Yet again, the multiplier gives a very rough estimate and may not apply to all types of personal injury cases.
The other factors that come into play when calculating the value of pain and suffering may include the following.
- The credibility of the petitioner
- Whether they will be a good witness if required
- How consistent the testimony about the injuries is
- Whether the claims of pain and suffering are determined to be exaggerated
- A doctor’s report on the victim’s claims of pain and suffering
- Whether the diagnosis, injuries, and claims make good sense
- If the jury thinks that the claimant lied about anything, even a minor lie
- Whether the petitioner has a criminal record
- The conduct and behavior of the plaintiff
There are not many guidelines to determine the value of both physical and mental pain and suffering in a personal injury lawsuit. In most cases, the judge will advise the jury members to use their good sense and experience to come up with what could be a fair and reasonable settlement amount for the victim’s pain and suffering. A professional personal injury lawyer can help you by stating to the jury all the ways in which the accident has taken a toll on the overall quality of your life. Your lawyer will know how to plead your case and establish the fault of the defendant for your pain and suffering.