When you consider filing a personal injury claim, you may be a little bit unclear as to what qualifies as ‘pain and suffering’. After all, this is a fairly vague term, especially on the suffering side of the ledger. What counts as suffering, and how does that suffering receive a dollar amount? This is tricky to be sure, but there are some established processes in place which allow the system to work.
To get started, let’s talk about some of the basic things which can be covered by a personal injury claim. First, you have one of the most-common examples, which is medical costs. If you incur medical bills as the result of an injury that is the fault of another party, you may be eligible for compensation. This point is pretty cut and dried, as the medical bills come with a cost already established. The same can be said for lost wages. When you are unable to work because of your injury, it is quite simple to demonstrate how you have been harmed financially.
As we continue to look at other issues which may justify compensation in a personal injury case, things get a bit more complicated. For instance, if you have to suffer through physical pain, you may be entitled to compensation. This is separate from the medical bills, as it deals specifically with your reduced quality of life. Also, your reduction in earning capacity is on the table, which is a bit trickier than simply recouping lost wages.
Defining Pain and Suffering
You probably don’t need an explanation to understand what pain and suffering is outside of the context of the law. Pain is physical, whether it is a throbbing sensation in your foot, a burning sensation in your hand, or anything in between. No one enjoys pain, as it directly impacts how we are able to enjoy our day to day lives. Not only is pain uncomfortable, but it may physically stop you from doing some of the things you enjoy.
In a similar way, suffering from mental or emotional trauma as a result of your experience can be just as damaging. Even if you are able to quickly overcome your physical injuries, it may not be as easy to get over the mental hurdles that come with this kind of experience. One common way to evaluate pain and suffering is to compare lifestyles before and after an injury or accident. Are you able to enjoy the same things you enjoyed previously? Have you had to stop engaging in any of your favorite hobbies? If your lifestyle has been negatively impacted, compensation may be in order.
There are any number of forms of pain and suffering that may be recoverable in a personal injury claim. Each case is unique, so the merits of the claim have to be evaluated by an insurance adjuster, judge, or even a jury. In the end, the goal is simple – to receive fair compensation for the pain and suffering that has been endured.