When you are injured in an accident, whether you were hurt in a car crash, by medical malpractice, or because of a defective product, you may have the right to pursue compensation for pain and suffering and several other damages. To seek this financial recovery, you should work with a pain and suffering lawyer from Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC. We are highly experienced personal injury attorneys for Atlanta and the surrounding area, and for decades, we have helped individuals and families pursue full and fair compensation for their physical, emotional, and financial injuries. Call us at (404) 419-6674 to let us help. You also can request a free consultation by contacting us through our online contact form.
Pain and Suffering Damages
The term “damages” refers to various physical, psychological, and financial injuries that you can be compensated for. The term “pain and suffering” specifically refers to the physical pain you go through after suffering an injury, such as when your injuries are being treated and as you recover. Depending on the type and extent of the injury, you also may experience chronic pain for years or the rest of your life.
These damages can also encompass mental and emotional suffering, which is connected to your physical pain. Physical pain can have a profound emotional impact. You may suffer from depression, despair, anger, anxiety, and many other negative emotions and psychological states.
For example, if you pursue compensation for pain and suffering from a car accident, you can seek compensation for:
- Pain and discomfort you experienced in the aftermath of the crash
- Pain and discomfort during diagnostic testing to determine your injuries;
- Pain and discomfort experienced during treatment;
- Pain and discomfort experienced during your recovery, including physical rehabilitation;
- Severe emotional and mental distress related to your physical pain during your recovery, such as depression; and
- Chronic pain and discomfort experienced after you recover to the fullest extent possible.
Suing for Pain and Suffering
When another person or business is responsible for the accident that caused you harm, then you may have a valid claim for pain and suffering.
This claim for compensation for your physical pain may be an insurance claim. You may seek compensation through a first-party claim against your own insurance policy or through a third-party claim against the at-fault party’s policy.
However, after an accident, it may be risky to rely solely on an insurance claim. An insurer may hesitate to settle with you. Or, they may approve your claim, yet push you to accept a low settlement offer. It typically is in an insurer’s best interests to deny a claim, if they can, and to negotiate the lowest settlement possible.
To reduce the risk of your claim being denied by an insurer or receiving a low-ball settlement offer, your lawyer may recommend pursuing pain and suffering in a lawsuit. By filing a lawsuit, you show the insurer you take your financial recovery seriously. You may have a better chance of the insurer approving your claim and participating in good faith settlement negotiations.
In many cases, filing a lawsuit enables you to obtain a greater amount of compensation than you would if you did not file. You should talk with a pain and suffering lawyer about the potential advantages of filing a lawsuit.
Calculating Pain and Suffering Compensation
Pain and suffering are general damages. In Georgia, damages are considered general when they cannot easily be assigned a dollar amount. Special damages, however, can be assigned a specific amount based on bills and records.
Because you cannot clearly say what your pain and suffering is worth based on your medical expenses or other economic losses, you must use some method to calculate these damages. One of the most common methods is using a multiplier.
When pain and suffering is calculated by a multiplier, the amount of your special damages is multiplied by a number between one and five. The more severe your injuries, and the greater likelihood of long-term or chronic pain, the higher the multiplier your attorney may use.
There are various factors that may influence the appropriate multiplier, including but not limited:
- Whether your injury interferes with your daily life, and if so, to what extent;
- Whether your injury makes it impossible to enjoy daily activities;
- Whether your injury makes it impossible to participate in your favorite hobbies;
- Whether your injury has disrupted your family life;
- Whether your injury has disrupted your marriage;
- Whether you are suffering from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, or other mental health problems related to the injury;
- Whether you are suffering from a disfigurement related to the injury; and
- Whether the injury caused a permanent physical limitation.
Keep in mind that you are likely to argue for a higher multiplier while the defendant and their insurer will argue for a lower multiplier. You may ask for three times the amount of your general damages while the insurer seeks a 1.5 multiplier. This common issue is one of the strongest reasons for working with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Our team at Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC will carefully build a case to support the multiplier we ask for, and we will aggressively defend against the insurer’s attempt to limit your financial recovery.
A multiplier is only one possible way to calculate your damages, though it is common. Your lawyer may recommend another method for determining the value of your pain and suffering.
Proving Your Pain and Suffering
When you are going through a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim, you must prove your pain and suffering in order to receive compensation for this type of damages.
There are several ways your pain and suffering lawyer can prove the physical and mental pain and distress you have gone through and continue to suffer from:
- Your medical records. Often, judges and juries can understand that you have suffered a great deal of pain and discomfort based on the type and extent of injuries you suffered. You may have even rated your pain each time you visited a medical professional.
- Medical expert testimony. Sometimes, injuries are complicated. It can be hard for judges and juries who do not have medical training to understand what happened and how it impacts your body. A medical expert can help describe the injury, how it would impact your body, and how painful it is.
- Your own testimony. You may testify regarding your injuries, the pain you have experienced, and how your injuries and pain have impacted your life and well-being. Sometimes the most effective evidence is describing what you feel in detail.
- Family or household member testimony. To support your own testimony, it may benefit you to have your spouse or another household member who sees you consistently to describe what they have watched you go through. A household member can testify as to how your injuries and pain effect you in day in and day out.
Your lawyer may recommend making a “day in the life” video. This video would show you going through a typical day with your injury, including getting out of bed, bathing and getting dressed, cooking, completing household tasks, and more.
Contact a Pain and Suffering Lawyer Today
If you were hurt in an accident and are experiencing a great deal of physical pain, discomfort, and mental suffering because of your injuries, contact our team at Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC as soon as possible. We work closely with you, your medical providers, and experts to build a thorough and strong claim for damages, including compensation for your pain and suffering.