When you initiate a personal injury lawsuit, you can ask for several types of damages.
The most uncomplicated damages to ask for are those related to medical care and property damage. Why? Because you get a concrete, itemized bill to deliver to the court. The damages are apparent: they’re in writing.
As we all know, the price of an injury usually goes beyond the cost of medical care. If you’re severely injured, you might lose out on aspects of living like playing with your kids, participating in your favorite hobbies, and enjoyment of life in general.
Pain and suffering damages are available to compensate for those losses that don’t come with an itemized bill. But how do you get paid? Here’s what you need to know.
You Need to Prove Pain and Suffering
Before we dive in, it’s worth noting that the amount of pain and suffering damages allowed depends on the state you sue in and the type of case you face. For example, the state of California capped pain and suffering in medical malpractice to $250,000. An attorney will tell you whether and how much your case could qualify for.
Once you determine your eligibility for pain and suffering, you then need to figure out whether you can prove your experience.
Pain and suffering damages are impacted by the severity of your injury, the type of injury, and, most importantly, how your injury changes your day-to-day life.
To help prove your case, it’s essential to keep a journal of your progress starting immediately after you are injured. Your journal should include both your emotional state (i.e., how you feel) and the physical pain you feel. Remember that every aspect of your experience counts, so make sure you write down feelings like:
Even experiences that feel more like an inconvenience than ‘suffering’ count.
Just write about all the ways your life changed as you experience them. It will provide a concrete demonstration of what your injury meant beyond your medical bills.
Choose the Best Way to Calculate Your Pain and Suffering Damages
When you have a pain and suffering claim, you need to choose the most appropriate way to tackle damages. There are two accepted ways to calculate pain and suffering for a personal injury lawsuit.
The simplest way to do this is through the ‘multiplier method.’
The multiplier formula uses a calculation of your past and future medical expenses. It then multiplies them by a number between 1.5 and 5. This is a clean-cut way of determining pain and suffering, and it’s tied to a real number (your medical expenses).
Alternatively, you can use the per diem method. To go this route, you multiple the number of days you experience pain by a daily rate that you suggest. However, you still need to justify your daily rate, and doing so can be tricky.
Pain and Suffering Offer the Compensation You Deserve
An injury costs you more than just the sum of your medical bills. It can turn your life upside down in ways that don’t come with an itemized bill. Pain and suffering damages exist to compensate you for those experiences, but you do need to be able to prove and justify them.
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