Proving a Pain and Suffering Claim
An essential part of any lawsuit is a claim for pain and suffering. Yet, many people do not fully understand this component of a personal injury lawsuit.
A lawsuit’s damages against an at-fault party are divided into two main segments. The first is labeled economic and the second is non-economic. Let’s get a handle on these segments.
What Are Economic Damages?
These are damages that are easily calculated. They cover past and future medical care and wage loss both now and in the future if the plaintiff (injured party) can no longer work. Other components of economic damages are loss of earnings potential such as what happens when an injured party must take a lower-paying job due to their injuries. Additional costs such as property modifications that must be made due to the plaintiff’s injuries are recoverable. An example would be when a ramp must be installed. In addition, if the plaintiff must hire domestic help to handle work they did in the past, that too is factored in.
These damages cover the non-monetary loss the plaintiff suffers in the accident. This category includes the pain and suffering the person experiences and represents the life-changing injuries that are different for each person. Calculating the monetary value of pain and suffering is more complex, and an experienced personal injury lawyer is needed to ensure that his/her client is receiving the compensation they deserve.
What Is Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering is not only the physical pain the person suffers but the emotional anguish he or she must endure. Pain is not quantifiable, although medical professionals will often ask patients to grade it. For instance, if a patient suffers a shoulder injury, their doctor may be able to describe their lack of full mobility in the area or tenderness upon palpation. Nonetheless, the doctor is unable to adequately measure the pain’s severity. This inability to describe the pain is complex and includes a patient's perception of it, which varies from one person to another.
Qualifying the Pain
Just as there are different types of accidents and subsequent injuries, being able to support that a person is in pain might be challenging if the injury is minor.
For example, if a driver is in a T-bone crash and breaks the bone in their thigh (femur), the intensity of pain is expected to be high. Alternatively, if the driver suffered soft-tissue injuries in a rear-end crash, the expectation of pain is reduced. Soft-tissue injuries cannot be seen on an X-ray, and the degree of pain might be more difficult to prove.
Emotional Distress and Mental Anguish
This is the other component of pain and suffering and can be difficult to explain. It is not visible to the naked eye, although some symptoms of it might be. Noneconomic damages in South Carolina are:
- Physical pain
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
- Physical impairment
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of society
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of reputation
- Anxiety and fear of loss and injury
Morris Law Firm
Being injured in an accident is associated with a variety of damages most of which might be recovered in a personal injury lawsuit. Call the Morris Law Firm to schedule a free case review. Our legal team will examine your case, answer your questions and discuss your future options. We can be reached at (843) 232-0944 or contact us online.