There’s a reciprocal and bidirectional relationship between poor mental health and pain: Almost half (35%-45%) of individuals who experience chronic pain ultimately develop depression.
Unfortunately, if you get hurt in an accident, ongoing pain can impact your mental health. When that accident gives rise to a legal claim for compensation, you might wonder how to accurately value this type of loss. In a personal injury case, these losses are defined as pain and suffering damages.
Here at DFW Injury Lawyers, our team of personal injury lawyers in North Texas have extensive experience helping clients define, value, and pursue damages in the form of pain and suffering in personal injury claims.
Have you recently been in an accident you think was someone else’s fault? Did this accident also lead to significant financial losses? If yes, you’ll want more information on your legal rights and options when it comes to damages for pain and suffering.
Below, we’ll go over everything you need to know to be successful in your legal claim.
- The term “pain and suffering” describes a type of loss that an injured person can seek compensation for in a personal injury lawsuit.
- Pain and suffering damages are more difficult to prove and calculate, but an attorney can help you value these non-economic damages.
- If you were injured in an accident that you believe was someone else’s fault, then hiring a personal injury attorney and filing a claim may help you recover from your financial losses.
What is Pain and Suffering?
Broadly, pain and suffering is a term that describes specific damages endured after an accident caused by someone else’s negligence. Pain and suffering encompasses both the mental distress and the physical discomfort from an injury.
Physical discomfort defines the temporary or chronic pain from an injury that are detrimental to your day-to-day life. Minor pain might only be a temporary inconvenience, but chronic, severe, or long-lasting pain can prevent you from going to work, keep you on edge, and even negatively impact your personal relationships.
Mental pain and suffering is defined as any form of mental anguish or distress that you might experience after an accident. Sometimes, mental distress can be diagnosed in the form of depression, PTSD, anxiety, anger, or other conditions.
At other times, the negative mental consequences after an accident can only be described as diminishing the overall quality of life. Seeking pain and suffering damages for emotional distress is as valid as claims for physical distress.
Both physical and mental pain and suffering can stem from the same injury. For instance, a loss of your limbs could cause physical pain that diminishes your quality of life, and the injury could also spiral you into a depression because you struggle to return “back to normal.”
Our team of dedicated lawyers understands how difficult it can be to identify, verbalize, and quantify these types of losses. Despite the complexity of the situation, it’s important for you to pursue your rightful compensation. Since the accident wasn’t your fault, you shouldn’t be the one to have to bear the burden of those losses alone.
How to Collect Evidence to Show Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering is evaluated based on a number of factors. Here are just a few of the points that might be considered in a pain and suffering claim:
- The overall severity of your injury
- The level of pain experienced from medical treatment
- Whether the pain is chronic
- The impact of the injury on your quality of life
- Your ability to remain independent
- Whether emotional or mental trauma is present
To show the extent of these losses, collect evidence like medical bills, any diagnosis from a medical provider, and any documentation showing that you’re enrolled in therapy. Beyond that, statements from friends and family members can attest to the extent of your injury. A Texas personal injury lawyer can also hire a medical expert witness to testify on your behalf regarding the seriousness of your injury.
Remember that certain evidence could be used against you to disprove your claims. To prevent anything from being used against you, don’t post on social media until your claim concludes. It’s also wise not to talk openly about your injuries. Don’t return to work if you were ordered not to, and never put yourself at risk by participating in activities that could aggravate your injuries.
Suing for Pain and Suffering: Who Is at Fault?
Courtrooms in Texas operate on a modified comparative fault basis, which could potentially impact your lawsuit for pain and suffering. This type of system determines how much of a pain and suffering settlement award an injured individual is entitled to based on the percentage of fault attributed to both parties. If the injured person is considered more than 50% at fault, they won’t be able to seek compensation for pain and suffering.
Otherwise, you’ll be entitled to a percentage of your overall losses. For instance, if you were 25% at fault for an accident, you could still collect up to 75% of your damages from the at-fault party.
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How to Calculate Pain and Suffering
One of the trickiest aspects of pursuing compensation is calculating how much your pain and suffering is worth. Unlike economic damages, non-economic damages are difficult to value. You won’t be able to simply produce a medical bill or property damage receipt to show the exact cost of your anguish.
Ultimately, there is no exact science to calculating how much your pain and suffering is worth. Rather, the value of your pain and suffering is up to a jury based on the evidence presented to it. But, there are several ways to negotiate for a certain value of your pain and suffering damages in the context of settlement negotiations. The three most common ways to negotiate for the value of your pain and suffering damages are the multiplier method, the per diem method, and the exemplar method.
Learn more about these below:
The three most common ways to negotiate for the value of pain and suffering damages are the multiplier method, the per diem method, and the exemplar method.
The multiplier method is one of the most common and basic ways to value a person’s non-economic pain and suffering damages. To implement this method, you first add up all your economic damages. These damages include all easily quantifiable losses, like medical bills, property damage repair bills, or lost wages.
Next, you analyze a variety of factors to determine what type of multiplier they should use. In general, the more severe your injuries and quality of life losses are, the higher the multiplier. Generally, this is a scale from 1.5-5. Finally, you take the economic damage sum number and multiply it by the multiplier.
For instance, if you should receive $10,000 in economic damages and decide on a multiplier of 2, that means your damages are calculated as such: $10,000 x 2 = $20,000.
Per Diem Method
The per diem method is another common way to value pain and suffering damages. It’s calculated on a day-to-day basis and is also based on your daily wages.
Here’s how this pain and suffering calculation works:
First, you figure out how much your pain and suffering was worth to you in one day. Let’s say you decide your pain and suffering was worth $100 for a day. Next, you determine how long you were in pain. Let’s say you suffered for 50 days.
Under the per diem method, you would multiply the daily worth of your pain and suffering ($100) by the days you suffered (50) to determine the value ($5,000).
Another common way to value pain and suffering damages is through the exemplar method. This type of method involves comparing your case with the results of similar cases. These results can be obtained from trial results reports in the county where your case would be tried, or from previous results involving similar cases your attorney or other attorneys have handled. Then, you use similar values for pain and suffering from those exemplars.
How is Pain and Suffering Determined in Texas?
Considering how many different ways there are to potentially value pain and suffering damages, an injury lawyer cannot really guarantee how much you will recover. But, an attorney can help provide you with an estimate of what your pain and suffering might be valued at. They should also explain that your ultimate settlement award will vary based on many factors.
In Texas, juries consider various factors to determine how your injury has impacted your quality of life. They’ll then determine how much you’re owed in economic and non-economic damages.
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How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
If you’ve recently been injured in an accident that was potentially someone else’s fault and your losses are adding up, it’s advised that you consult with a personal injury attorney in your area about what happened.
A lawyer should be able to listen to all the details surrounding the accident, inquire more about who may be at fault, learn more about your losses, and analyze whether the necessary elements to seek out a claim exist in your case.
If your lawyer believes there are grounds for a legal claim, they can help you determine if it’s worth your time by helping you value your losses. This includes helping you consider all your losses, like pain and suffering damages. For optimal pain and suffering compensation, check that your attorney has top-notch case results and testimonials.
If you decide to file an injury claim and hire an attorney, they’ll guide you through the whole process, help file the right paperwork, document damages by collecting the right evidence, and negotiate with the other party. If needed, they can also take your personal injury lawsuit to court, representing only your best interests.
Bring the Muscle of DFW Injury Lawyers To Your Case
If you or a loved one recently experienced an accident that led to losses, chat with a personal injury attorney in your area. Depending on the circumstances and the losses you’ve endured, you may be eligible to file a personal injury claim.
Our legal team here at DFW Injury Lawyers works tirelessly for our clients until justice is served. We understand what it’s like to be forced into a financially weaker position as a result of an event that was outside of your control. We help make sure your compensation settlement matches the extent of your losses, including any pain and suffering you went through.
Our team understands the ins and outs of the justice system in Texas after spending decades handling personal injury claims. We also know some of the best strategies to employ to get you the best possible compensation award for the pain and suffering you went through. Our lawyers aren’t afraid to “bring in the muscle” to ensure our clients are properly compensated.
Contact our team today to schedule a free legal consultation with our team and learn more about your legal rights and options moving forward.
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