What Does Pain and Suffering Actually Mean?
“Pain and suffering” is a common term used in personal injury lawsuits in Oklahoma. If you’ve been injured, you’ve experienced some amount of pain and suffering almost by definition. We all know what the words mean, but it’s important to understand that the language “pain and suffering” has a specific legal meaning. Working with your personal injury lawyer to understand and explain your pain and suffering is key to a fair outcome in your personal injury lawsuit.
What is Pain and Suffering?
There are basically two categories of pain and suffering – physical pain, and mental or emotional pain. Physical pain is mostly obvious to understand: if you’ve been hurt in an accident, for example, you’ve broken an arm in an auto accident, you suffered the pain of the injury, the subsequent treatment, and perhaps ongoing pain as a result of physical therapy or persistent injury. Your personal injury attorney will work with you to prepare the appropriate medical records and testimony to establish proof of physical pain and suffering.
Mental or emotional pain and suffering is a more nebulous concept, but no less meaningful in the context of a personal injury lawsuit. For example a person who has been assaulted will not just suffer from physical injury, but can experience fear, anxiety, depression, and other harmful forms of mental suffering. A personal injury lawsuit can help you obtain compensation for this mental suffering.
Mental pain and suffering can also extend into the broader consequences of an injury. Supposing a person is the victim of a car accident, and as a result of the injuries sustained in the accident is forced to miss an important life event, like the birth of a child, a wedding, a school or work function, and so forth. These negative consequences can cause mental pain and suffering, and thus may be considered as part of a personal injury lawsuit.
What Doesn’t Count as Pain and Suffering?
If you’ve been injured, in most cases you will have some reasonable claim to a pain and suffering settlement. Even a minor injury can have major implications in your life. Before you dismiss your injury as “too small”, contact an attorney to understand if you might have a case.
However, there are a few types of incidents where pain and suffering are not likely to be awarded. Where you’ve only suffered mental pain and suffering, you will have a somewhat high burden of proof to show the severity of your mental pain. Even if someone has been rude to you, or made you feel anxious, without a physical injury this is not likely to constitute a strong lawsuit.
How is Pain and Suffering Calculated?
Pain and suffering awards are often calculated using one of two ways:
- Multiplier on Actual Damages. It’s common to calculate pain and suffering based on a multiplier of the actual damages incurred. If a victim has lost $10,000 due to missed wages and medical bills, pain and suffering may be estimated at a three-times multiple of $30,000.
- Per Diem. Another technique for calculating pain and suffering is to assign a dollar value to each day of pain since the day of the injury.
Though these two methods are common, the actual practice of putting a price on pain and suffering is not an exact science. Your case will evaluated on many factors and based on your specific injury and circumstances. To get the highest settlement, it’s important to contact an Oklahoma personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.