What are Pain and Suffering Damages?

Pain and suffering damages are difficult to calculate

Pain and suffering is likely the term injury victims most misuse and most often misunderstand. While personal injury lawyers will refer to pain and suffering often, calculating pain and suffering damages is quite difficult. That is because through pain and suffering, the legal system attempts to quantify what often cannot be measured. The system uses pain and suffering to compensate victims for the difficulties they’ve experienced as a result of their injuries.

There are websites online which offer to calculate your pain and suffering damages for you. These calculators are incredibly inaccurate. Every personal injury claim is unique. Florida personal injury law and the manner in which law firms and insurance companies argue over personal injury damages is art, not science.

Non-Economic Damages (Pain and Suffering Damages)

As mentioned above, pain and suffering measures non-economic losses suffered as a result of an injury. These losses can be both from physical pain and mental anguish (or emotional distress). Florida courts classify these physical and mental damages as general damages. The at-fault party in a negligence claim pays them as part of any damage award given to a claimant.

These damages can be very difficult to prove after a car accident or slip and fall. The claimant doesn’t have bills or medical records to document them. Instead, an experienced personal injury attorney will use witness testimony to illustrate the nature of the physical and mental pain of the claimant. This witness testimony can quite often come from family members and those closest to the claimant.

Essentially, Florida courts award pain and suffering damages to compensate an injury victim for going through things they otherwise would not have had to. In smaller cases, these damages can compensate for mere inconvenience. In larger cases, they can compensate the claimant for the agony the victim suffers and the negative effects on their mental health.

Physical Pain and Suffering

The injuries negligence victims suffer in car accidents and slip and falls can be quite painful. The treatments injury victims endure when seeking relief from their pain can be painful as well. Certain orthopedic injuries can take years to recover from. While many times, injury victims will never fully recover from certain orthopedic injuries or traumatic brain injuries. 

Florida courts award physical pain and suffering damages in an effort to compensate victims for these situations. Some injury victims have to undergo painful surgeries and agonizing recoveries. These damages are the personal injury system’s attempt to compensate victims for these issues. 

Without pain and suffering awards, victims would solely get reimbursement for medical bills, lost wages, future medical bills, and lost future earning capacity. While that may seem fair at first, imagine a person whose injury cannot be treated. But instead, they must simply live with pain for the remainder of their life. Pain and suffering awards are the only way a person in such a situation can be fairly compensated.

Mental Anguish

Commonly referred to emotional distress, mental anguish damages are how Florida courts attempt to compensate injury victims for the emotional and mental pain they have suffered as a result of their injuries. While it is easy for cynics and insurance companies to dismiss these damages, they are very real. Many injury victims are forced to live with emotional scars from their injuries for the rest of their lives.

Emotional distress can manifest itself in a number of ways. Some of the most common ways are: PTSD, anger, anxiety, fear, grief, irritability, and depression. It is easy to see someone’s scar from a surgery and understand that person suffered. However, these sorts of emotional and mental scars are not so easily seen.

Proving Pain and Suffering Damages

Insurance companies won’t simply believe a victim of negligence when they claim to have suffered as a result of an injury. Instead, insurance companies and Florida courts will require evidence of pain and suffering damages before giving compensation for them. This proof can come in a number of different ways.

Many of my personal injury clients maintain a journal of their pain and medical treatment. When a personal injury case drags on due to typical insurance company delay tactics, this sort of journal is an excellent way to document everything my client has suffered through during that delay. 

Additionally, photographs are an excellent way to prove physical pain and suffering. Some injuries (like bruising) heal and don’t leave scars. However, if an injury victim takes photographs of these sorts of injuries, their injury attorney can use them to illustrate the claimant’s pain and suffering.

Further, one of the absolute best ways to prove pain and suffering is through witness testimony. A family member that is able to testify about what the victim was like before their injury versus what they are like after the injury is invaluable. This sort of testimony quite often resonates with juries. It is also very difficult for insurance companies to fight because (typically) they cannot find someone to testify to the opposite effect.

Hire an Experienced Tampa Personal Injury Attorney

Knapp Accident & Injury Law believes in compassionate representation. Every client at Knapp Accident & Injury Law is important. That is why every one of my clients gets my personal cell phone number at the beginning of their case. 

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident or slip and fall, call Knapp Accident & Injury Law at (813) 568-3724 today. I will make your compensation and healing my number one priority.

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