Pain and suffering is a type of noneconomic damage that claimants may recover in a personal injury settlement. It compensates claimants for the physical and emotional pain they experience because of their injuries.
Unlike economic damages like medical bills, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering damages do not have a definitive cost associated with them. But compensation for pain and suffering may make up a substantial portion of personal injury settlements.
An experienced injury lawyer can assess their clients’ cases and the value of their pain and suffering damages, as well as other damages they may be eligible to recover.
Value of Pain and Suffering Damages
Estimating the value of damages for pain and suffering is one of the most daunting tasks in a personal injury claim. Without an easily-identifiable price attached to them, a lawyer cannot look at medical invoices, evidence of lost wages, and testimony from experts about future lost earning potential to estimate the value of these damages.
Pain and suffering as a category of damages refers to all types of noneconomic damages, which may include:
- Emotional turmoil or depression
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Permanent loss of a limb or function
In estimating the value of personal injury damages, a lawyer will consider these and other effects of any injuries, and how that affects an individual’s emotional and mental well-being. It may help to keep a journal of how the injury affects an individual and their ability to return to a normal life.
Other factors that affect pain and suffering damages include:
- Value of current and future medical expenses. Higher value may indicate higher pain and suffering value.
- Prognosis and permanency of injuries. Permanent disability from injuries may indicate a higher pain and suffering value.
- Longevity of injuries. Long-term injuries may indicate higher pain and suffering value.
The effects of these factors on the value of pain and suffering damages varies from case to case. Speak with a lawyer for a personal case evaluation.
Benefits of a Lawyer
Because there are no tangible expenses or losses associated with pain and suffering, insurance companies may fail to offer a settlement that fairly compensates for the value of these damages. Work with a personal injury lawyer who can evaluate your case and the value of these and other damages, and who can then negotiate a fair settlement from the insurer, or proceed to trial on your behalf, if necessary.