March 6th, 2018

The Impact of Injuries: What Is Pain and Suffering?

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Author: Laura C. Llanso

Nothing has gone according to plan. First, you were injured in a car accident that was someone else’s fault.  You went to the doctor, but now the insurance company representing the other driver is being unreasonable.  They are only offering a little bit of money and are pushing you to settle your case, even before you feel better. When this happens we recommend contacting an attorney to see what you are entitled to claim as a result of your accident. Options are available to you, including filing a lawsuit and presenting your case to a judge or jury. In most cases, you can claim your medical bills, lost wages, and your pain and suffering.

But what exactly is “pain and suffering”, and how do you present that claim?

Pain and suffering damages are the ways your life changed because of the car accident that do not have a specific dollar amount that have been identified on your medical or other bills. These include daily activities that were harder or impossible to do because of your injuries. They can also include inconveniences, like not having a car.  You have to show how specifically each activity was impacted and the duration of the pain, suffering and inconvenience.

Think about a typical day before the car accident.  What were your “chores”? Did you cook dinner every night? Mow the lawn once a week? Take out the trash?  Now think about after the accident – did you have to stop doing any of these activities? Or did you do them as best you could, but with pain? Even simple activities like sleeping and dressing might have been more difficult.

Now think about your work life. Did you need to ask your employer for any accommodations or light duty given your physical pain and limitations?  Did you need to take breaks more frequently? Did you need to get up and walk around because of the pain?  Were you less efficient and productive each day?

Finally, how about your social life?  Did you play sports in a league? Did you play with your children every weekend? Did you miss any social events? Did you need to ask friends for rides because you did not have a car?

Taking all the activities that you could not do, had to do less or did with pain, are your “pain and suffering” damages. The longer you had difficulty or could not do them, the more pain and suffering you had. You might think this is “complaining,” but the little things that changed in your daily life determine the extent of your “pain and suffering”.

So how do you present “pain and suffering”? After an accident make sure to document everything by keeping a journal and making detailed notes of the impact on your daily activities while it is happening. This includes taking photos. Write it down so you do not forget.

Learn more about accident injury claims and do not hesitate to contact one of our Injury attorneys with any questions.