“Pain and suffering” is a term commonly heard and used—but not many people know this is a key factor in any personal injury lawsuit. When an injured individual wins a personal injury case, he or she may receive damages for pain and suffering. These damages are often a monetary amount awarded to the injured person to compensate for the distress caused by the injury, and are given to the victim on top of any monetary amounts awarded to compensate him or her for medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and other damages. The purpose of this award is to place the injured party in the same position he or she was in prior to the injury, or as close as possible.
From a legal perspective, pain and suffering are typically comprised of two parts: physical and mental pain suffering.
Physical pain and suffering refers to the pain from the victim’s physical injuries. The discomfort and pain endured by the victim falls under this category, as well as the negative impact that the injury may have on the victim in the future due to the negligent party’s actions.
Mental pain and suffering generally refers to any and all negative emotion stemming from the victim’s physical injuries and trauma. These include emotional distress, mental anguish, fear, worry, grief, humiliation, shock, anxiety, inconvenience, and the loss of enjoyment of life. In extreme cases, mental pain and suffering can also include depression, anger, insomnia or sleep disturbances, sexual dysfunction, lack of energy, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Like physical pain and suffering, mental pain and suffering does not only include effects the victim has endured to present, but the pain and suffering that he or she is likely to suffer in the future.
In almost every personal injury case, the victim should be able to recover an amount for pain and suffering damages—no matter how small or how large.
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Calculating pain and suffering in a personal injury claim can be a complex process because there are not many guidelines in determining the value of these damages. Injuries affect people differently, as everyone has a different threshold for pain. Suffering can also be challenging to communicate to an insurance adjuster or jury as it is an emotional quality.
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As such, a close examination of the facts of every accident is needed. Documentation plays a big role in supporting claims of pain and suffering. These include police reports, medical records, and hospital bills. Also taken into consideration are photos of the sustained injuries, receipts for over-the-counter medications, prescription records, and a report from the victim’s employer on the length of the time the victim was unable to return to work.
When assigning pain and suffering damages, judges and juries base their decision on the circumstances of the case. Of course, it can be difficult to determine a fair value in a personal injury case, particularly for people outside the legal profession. As such, juries must use their good sense and rely on their personal experience, as well as what they have learned about the injured victim’s quality of life, career, lifestyle, and aspirations.
If you have been seriously injured in Ohio and are wondering about what kind of compensation you can expect to receive beyond medical expenses and lost wages then call The Fitch Law Firm today at (855) LAW-OHIO for a free confidential initial case consultation.