When you’re involved in a car accident, insurance will pay for most of the property damage and medical bills. But what about the pain and suffering you can undergo following an accident? In some extreme cases, pain and suffering can last way beyond recovery.
Many court systems allow the victims of an accident to sue the at-fault party for any pain and mental or emotional anguish they go through as the result of an accident. Before filing a physical pain and emotional suffering lawsuit in court, though, here’s what you should know about how the process works.
What Is Physical Pain and Emotional Suffering?
Pain and suffering is a key component of many personal injury lawsuits. It’s divided into two distinct subsets: physical pain and emotional pain.
Physical pain and suffering: When you hear “pain and suffering,” you most likely think of the physical injuries suffered in an accident. Each accident is different, with some accidents causing the injured driver a lot of physical pain. This could be in the form of an injured or lost limb, an extended hospital stay and recovery, or even life-threatening injuries that require extended care. In addition, depending on the severity of the injury, physical pain and suffering can extend way beyond the initial treatment and recovery.
Emotional pain and suffering: Also known as mental pain and suffering, emotional pain and suffering is a by-product of bodily injury. Emotional pain and suffering includes such things as mental anguish, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Some common emotions and feelings invoked by emotional pain and suffering include fear, anger, anxiety, and shock. Severe emotional pain can also lead to a feeling of anger, depression, and humiliation.
Some of the side effects of these emotions and feelings include a loss of appetite, an overall lack of energy, mood swings, and loss of sleep, among other effects. Emotional pain and suffering can also refer to future pain and suffering you might suffer due to an accident.
How Is Pain and Suffering Calculated?
When it comes to calculating how much an injured party receives for pain and suffering, a lot depends on the judge or jury involved. Unfortunately, there are no guidelines for determining how much pain and suffering is worth. Many times, a judge will instruct a jury to use common sense and experience to determine how much the plaintiff should actually receive as compensation for their pain and suffering.
Another factor that is used to determine the dollar amount of a particular pain and suffering claim is a multiplier. This is a calculation of pain and suffering based on a multiple of the total medical bills and lost earnings of the injured individual.
Referred to as special damages, these are often arrived at using a multiplier ranging from 1.5 to 4. This is only a rough estimate of what the jury thinks the injured party should receive in a pain and suffering lawsuit and is affected by a variety of factors, including if:
- The plaintiff a good or bad witness
- The plaintiff is likeable
- The plaintiff is credible
- The plaintiff’s testimony regarding his or her injuries is consistent
- The plaintiff is exaggerating his or her claims of pain and suffering
- The plaintiff’s physicians support the plaintiff’s claims of pain and suffering
- The jury thinks that the plaintiff lied about anything, even something relatively minor (as a general rule, if a plaintiff lies, the plaintiff loses)
- The plaintiff’s diagnosis, injuries, and claims make common sense to the jury
- The plaintiff has a criminal record
The purpose of any physical pain and emotional suffering lawsuit is to compensate the victim of an accident for damages suffered as a result of that accident. And while there is no guarantee how much a particular person will get for a specific case, you should definitely talk to a lawyer if you feel you have suffered undo pain and suffering due to an accident.