Injuries resulting from an accident can affect every aspect of your life, including your ability to engage in enjoyable activities with your family and friends, or to resume work. Unfortunately, you may find yourself dealing with the after-effects of your accident even after you have physically recovered.

Prolonged physical pain, discomfort, mental anguish, anxiety, fear and frustration because of mobility limitations, treatment side effects, and emotional distress are common following certain types of accident. Compensation for these damages is categorized under pain and suffering. Pain and suffering is largely of two types – physical and mental.

What is Physical Pain and Suffering?

Physical pain and suffering includes initial trauma because of an injury caused by someone else’s carelessness, such as pain from loss of limb, broken bones, and concussion among others. This type of damage also includes long-term pain and suffering, such as physical therapy and ongoing rehab.

Physical pain and suffering may occur in a wide array of scenarios, such as:

  • Workplace injury
  • Car or truck accident
  • Slip and fall
  • Dog bite

For instance, if you suffer a broken leg in a car accident that was due to someone else’s negligence, you may be able to recover compensation for both initial pain and suffering and also ongoing pain and suffering.

What is Mental Pain and Suffering?

Mental well-being is as important as your physical well-being. Unfortunately, mental well-being is harder to document as compared to physical well-being. Mental pain and suffering includes any negative emotion or mental anguish you may suffer from the initial accident.  A capable personal injury attorney may be able to obtain compensation for your mental pain and suffering.

These are a few possible examples:

  • Humiliation
  • Emotional distress
  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Anxiety or stress

Severe mental conditions may arise in some instances following an injury resulting from someone else’s carelessness. This includes:

  • Anxiety disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Issues with impulse control due to anger over lifestyle changes
  • Sleep disturbances, loss of appetite, sexual dysfunction, and loss of enjoyment among other symptoms of depression

Proving Pain and Suffering Following an Accident

Actual damages, such as lost wages and medical bills are easy to both calculate and identify in a personal injury case. Things can get a little tricky when it comes to pain and suffering. Hence, you should document your journey to recovery carefully to prove true pain and suffering resulting from the accident.

These are a few steps you should take for proving pain and suffering:

  • Document the visits made to therapists and other medical professionals
  • Get opinions and testimony from expert third-party medical witnesses for corroborating the evidence provided by your mental health therapist or physician
  • List all your medications following the accident, including pain medications
  • Provide documentation regarding life-threatening, permanent, or disabling conditions
  • Create a detailed documented journal describing pain scales, daily life and the manner in which the accident affected your life or changed your abilities to perform certain tasks and functions
  • Provide friends and family testimony detailing your pain and suffering on a daily basis

These documentation, testimonies, and expert opinions can prove to be valuable in proving your pain and suffering.

Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages

Juries don’t have anything in way of guidelines for setting a value on pain and suffering following a personal injury lawsuit. Judges, in most states, simply instruct the juries to use their experience, good sense, and background for coming up with a reasonable and fair compensation figure for the plaintiff’s pain and suffering.

The ‘multiplier’ approach is used in some cases where the compensation for pain and suffering is the multiple of the injured person’s total lost earnings and medical bills. Typically, the multiplier is between 1.5 and 4 times. However, this is very rough estimate and is not applicable to all types of personal injury cases. It is more useful in minor injury cases where the overall damages are less than $50,000.

Other factors affecting the value of pain and suffering include:

  • Whether the plaintiff proves to be credible on the stand
  • Whether the plaintiff is fit to testify
  • Whether the plaintiff’s testimony is consistent
  • Whether the claims of pain and suffering are exaggerated
  • Whether the plaintiff’s claims of pain and suffering are supported by physician testimony
  • Whether the jury thinks the plaintiff is being truthful
  • Whether the plaintiff possesses a criminal record

There are several other factors that come into playing while determining the value of pain and suffering. Having an experienced personal injury attorney by your side can help in placing an accurate value to the pain and suffering.

Speak with a Seasoned Personal Injury Attorney Today

The compensation process for pain and suffering can be complex and confusing. This is especially true in Virginia and North Carolina. The attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp will work diligently till you receive a fair amount covering your physical injuries, lost wages and mental anguish. Schedule your free and confidential consultation with us today. Call us at (833) 997-1774 or write to us online.