When you file a personal injury claim, you ask the responsible party to pay you for your injuries, lost wages, and other damages. One aspect of your demand should include compensation for your pain and suffering. To collect payment successfully, you must prove your damages. Understandably, prospective clients might not be familiar with how to prove pain and suffering. If you suffered injuries due to another party’s negligence, contact our Kentucky personal injury lawyers at Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC.
Definition of Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury Case
Before researching how to prove pain and suffering, it’s vital to understand what pain and suffering means. When you’re demanding compensation for pain and suffering, you’re saying the defendant owes you for the physical pain, anguish, emotional trauma, and inconvenience that your injuries caused you. Damages in a personal injury case belong to two main categories: economic and non-economic. Pain and suffering falls under non-economic damages and has no associated tangible financial losses.
Every accident is different, meaning your pain and suffering is unique compared to other plaintiffs. Pain and suffering is also subjective, which is why it’s often hard to prove. The defendant’s insurance company will always undervalue your non-economic damages to save money and reduce their exposure.
Putting a dollar amount on your physical and emotional trauma may seem impossible. We know what a confusing and stressful time this is for you and your family. Let us review your case and help you calculate a reasonable demand for pain and suffering.
Life-Changing Injuries in an Accident
Some injuries are catastrophic and can permanently change your lifestyle and career. Examples of life-changing injuries include:
- Severe traumatic brain injury or other traumatic head injuries,
- Spinal cord injuries resulting in partial or complete paralysis,
- Injuries that cause a loss of eyesight or hearing,
- Severe burns that result in scarring and disfigurement,
- Amputation of a limb,
- Loss of reproductive organs or infertility, and
- Loss of the ability to communicate.
Any of these injuries might require the victim to make dramatic changes to their home, daily activities, employment, and more. You might need a full-time caretaker or even move into an assisted living facility.
How Can I Prove My Pain and Suffering?
Maximizing your pain and suffering settlement means having a solid case with substantial evidence. The stronger your proof, the greater the chance of recovering a larger amount for pain and suffering. Some people don’t realize that pain and suffering can make up the most significant amount of your settlement. Preserving evidence is crucial to prove pain and suffering successfully.
In general, the documentation necessary to prove pain and suffering includes the following:
- Medical records and doctor notes,
- Medical bills,
- Photos of your injuries,
- Time you missed from work,
- Psychiatric records, and
- Notes on your mental state.
When you retain Gladstein Law Firm, we will help you every step of the way. Hiring one or more experts to review your case and evaluate your physical and mental state might be necessary. These experts can prepare reports that will further detail your physical and psychological state. If your case goes into litigation, these experts will be available to testify in a deposition or on the stand in court.
Factors that Impact Pain and Suffering Settlement Amounts
Proving pain and suffering also means proving the defendant is liable for your injuries. To successfully prove negligence in a personal injury accident, you must show evidence that:
- The defendant owes you a legal duty;
- The defendant breached the duty they owed you;
- The breach caused your injuries; and
- You have verifiable damages, such as medical expenses or lost wages.
Kentucky is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that you can be primarily at fault for the accident and still recover compensation for your pain and suffering. However, your settlement or court award will be reduced by your percentage of negligence. For example, in a car accident where you’re 10% at fault, the maximum pain and suffering you can recover is 90% of your damages.
Liability is only one factor that can impact your potential pain and suffering settlement. The severity of your injuries also plays a role. With more severe injuries, it’s typical to have higher damages and pain and suffering.
One potential limiting factor is the amount of available insurance coverage. It won’t matter if you have $300,000 in pain and suffering if the defendants only have $100,000 in available liability coverage. Many defendants don’t have any assets you can attach to satisfy a judgment, so it may not be worthwhile. Receiving a judgment over the defendant’s insurance policy limits is one thing, but being able to collect it is quite another.
Calculating Pain and Suffering
Insurance companies typically use one of two methods to calculate pain and suffering—multiplier and per diem. With the multiplier method, the insurance adjuster takes your economic damages and multiplies them by a set number, typically one to five. A multiplier of one would be for minor injuries, while five would be reserved for catastrophic injuries.
Per diem calculations assign a dollar amount to each day. Adjusters typically use your earning capacity before the accident. Consider an accident for which recovery took ten weeks. The adjuster would calculate your daily pay from your annual salary. They would calculate your daily rate by how many days in your recovery period.
Contact a Kentucky Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have questions on how to prove pain and suffering in your personal injury case, Gladstein Law Firm is here to help. We have nearly two decades of experience supporting injured victims to recover the maximum compensation possible for their pain and suffering claims. You deserve to be fairly compensated when you suffer an injury due to another party’s negligence or intentional acts. Insurance companies won’t offer you what you deserve, which is why you need a legal advocate. To learn more about how we can support you, contact our office to schedule an initial consultation.