“Pain and suffering” is a term often associated with personal injury lawsuits, but few people understand its meaning. From a legal standpoint, pain and suffering can be physical or mental.
Physical pain and suffering is associated with physical injuries. This not only includes the discomfort or pain the claimant suffers in the present, but any potential complications and pain that are likely to occur as a direct result of the defendant’s actions.
Mental pain and suffering is about the impact the injuries have on the sufferer’s emotional well-being. Mental pain and suffering may refer to emotional distress, anger, fear, anxiety, humiliation, shock or any negative emotion that has occurred as a result of the physical trauma of an accident.
In some cases, significant mental pain and suffering can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), loss of appetite, depression, mood swings, and sleep disturbances. Mental suffering also refers to the potential disturbances a victim might experience down the line.
How Pain and Suffering Is Determined
In a personal injury lawsuit, there aren’t any guidelines for calculating the compensation for pain and suffering. In most cases, judges recommend that juries base their calculation of reasonable compensation based on their own experience and understanding.
In some cases, a multiplier is used, in which pain and suffering is calculated based on the claimant’s injuries, total medical bills or lost earnings. The multiplier is typically between 1.5 and 4, which is then applied to the damage caused.
It’s important to remember that multipliers are estimates and may not apply to all personal injury cases.
A plaintiff’s Action or Inaction Can Impact Compensation
â— Comparative negligence: This links injuries caused to a measure of fault in a personal injury case. If a victim is partially at fault for the injuries incurred from the accident, compensation will most likely reflect that.
â— Duty to mitigate: In most states, plaintiffs in personal injury cases are required to take steps to mitigate the impact of the injury caused by an accident. Disregarding mitigation such as not seeking medical attention, ignoring medical advice, refusing surgery, or engaging in unreasonable behavior that may aggravate injuries can have adverse affects on the outcome.
Other considerations that impact compensation include:
â— The credibility of the plaintiff.
â— Exaggeration of the claim.
â— Misinformation or lies.
â— Physician’s testimony.
â— Reliability of the claim, diagnosis, and injuries.
â— The plaintiff’s criminal record (if applicable).
Consult with an Experienced Attorney
Filing a personal injury lawsuit requires specialized skills and knowledge of the legal system. If you were injured in an accident, it’s vital to work with an experienced personal injury attorney in Los Angeles to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.