Pain and suffering is a legal phrase referring to certain injuries that a victim suffers from of an accident. It not only includes physical pain, but also emotional scars such as fear, insomnia, grief, worry, inconvenience and even the loss of enjoyment of life. In most personal injury cases, the injured party should be able to recover some amount of money for pain and suffering.
How do you prove pain and suffering?
Proving pain and suffering is different in every case but, in general, the more evidence you have, the better your chance of recovering a fair amount.
Evidence supporting the extent of the damages can be in the form of documentation such as photographs or a personal diary kept by the injured person documenting how she feels. It could also come from friends and family who provide additional evidence of the negative impact the injury has had on the victim’s life. Evidence of medical treatment is also necessary, either for mental health issues like anxiety, insomnia, or depression, or for ongoing physical ailments.
How do you value pain and suffering?
Generally we try to figure out what similar cases have settled for in the past and/or what juries have awarded for similar injuries in the past. It certainly doesn’t come down to what I think its worth. Obviously, no one in their right mind would trade paraplegia for any amount of money, so trying to value it based on what someone would take for it is an irrelevant exercise. But what a jury gave the last person that brought a case like that and what several other juries gave people on cases like that has to be considered in making an intelligent decision on what to ask a jury for in the first place and, if theres a settlement offer, what to accept.
There comes a point where, if you ask for too much money, the jury will think you’re greedy and they might punish you for that. You have to be very careful about how much to ask for in your law suit because it can backfire on you.
In any case we try to evaluate, what a jury would give you if you win the case and then we try and figure out what are the odds of winning or losing. If the settlement offered is reasonable when compared to the odds of winning or losing we would recommend that the client pursue it.
Does the client have the choice to settle or is it your call?
The client always has the decision on whether or not to settle a claim. But I will always give the client my advice and give them the tools they need to make a good decision.
Because of the complexity of each case, you may need to seek legal representation to ensure you get as much for your claim as possible. If you’re in this situation now contact the Law Offices of Brian Whitehead to schedule your case evaluation.