How to Prove Pain and Suffering in an Injury Case
- posted: Feb. 16, 2022
- Personal Injury
If you were injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to recover damages in a personal injury lawsuit. In addition to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages and out-of-pocket costs, you may also be awarded damages for your pain and suffering. This type of damage is often the most significant component of a personal injury award but it can also be the most difficult to prove.
A number of factors can be evaluated in determining damages for pain and suffering, including the victim’s emotional and physical pain and distress, worry, embarrassment, inability to participate in their everyday activities and loss of enjoyment of life. Evidence used to establish pain and suffering in a personal injury case can include the following:
Medical records — These include documentation of the type and extent of an injury, the treatment rendered and any surgical and post-operative procedures performed or needed. The more severe the injury, the better the argument that pain and suffering resulted.
Medical testimony — Doctors, physical therapists and chiropractors may testify about their patient’s injuries at trial or deposition. In addition, medical experts can give their opinions about the pain and suffering a specific injury can cause.
The victim’s testimony — Since only victims can fully know the extent of the pain experienced, significant weight is given to their testimony about how their injuries have impacted their lives.
Testimony of friends and family — People who interact with the accident victim on a frequent basis may be able to testify about specific activities or household chores the victim can no longer take part in due to the injuries.
Once pain and suffering are determined to exist, the damages must be calculated. Two ways in which this is often done by lawyers and insurance adjusters are the multiplier method and the per diem approach. With the multiplier method, the economic damages are added together and multiplied by a number usually between 1.25 and 5, depending on evidence of the severity of the suffering. The per diem approach applies a rate to each day the victim was in pain, which is multiplied by the number of days between the date the injury arose and maximum medical recovery. However, the law permits the jury and judge to use whatever reasonable method they choose.
Tennessee law caps the damages that can be awarded in most cases for non-economic damages (which includes pain and suffering) at $750,000. However, the law allows victims to recover somewhat greater compensation in cases involving catastrophic injuries — such as those to the brain or spinal cord — or if the defendant’s conduct was intentional. An exception is also permitted if the defendant concealed evidence or if the case resulted in the defendant being convicted of a felony.
If you suffered injuries due to the fault of another, it’s crucial to have a personal injury attorney by your side to obtain the compensation you deserve. Massengill, Caldwell & Coughlin, P.C. represents accident victims in Bristol, Kingsport, and Johnson City and throughout Upper East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. Call 423-797-6022 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.