How Does a Claim for “Pain and Suffering” Work?

Pain and Suffering ClaimsAccident victims are often entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost income, and property damage, but the most important compensation is for the human losses. Human losses, commonly referred to as pain and suffering, non-economic damages, or general damages, are usually not as visible and are not naturally valued with money like economic damages. However, true justice includes compensation for your human losses.

What non-economic damages from an accident or injury?

Whether you are involved in a car accident, slip and fall accident, bicycle accident, or any other type of accident, you and your life may have been impacted in various ways. Identifying economic damages can be simple, but recognizing the human losses can be more complex. Therefore, it is recommended that you take the time to reflect on any physical, mental, or emotional distress you have experienced since the accident. Here are some examples of human losses:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental distress
  • Emotional trauma
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Embarrassment
  • Shame
  • Humiliation
  • Fear or shock
  • Loss of enjoyment of activities
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Disability
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Disfigurement or scarring
  • Loss of companionship

Although these examples may be able to help you determine what types of human losses you have experienced since your accident, they do not give you an idea of how much your pain and suffering is worth, which is critical information to recover damages. Therefore, once you have developed a list of the various types of pain and suffering you have experienced, a personal injury lawyer can help you calculate how much pain and suffering damages you are owed.

How is pain and suffering measured or calculated in Vancouver, WA?

Insurance companies may use software programs to calculate pain and suffering, but these programs often do not fully understand a person’s distress. Their goal is to find ways to offer you lower compensation than you deserve. Your Vancouver, WA personal injury lawyer will typically use one of two methods to measure or calculate your pain and suffering. Below, we will go over both methods and how they work.

  1. Prior Jury Verdicts and Settlements: To find just compensation for pain and suffering an experienced trial attorney will often turn to previous jury verdicts and settlements in the jurisdiction. This can be used as precedence to prove to the insurance decision makers the value of pain and suffering, and what would happen if they allow the case to go to trial.
  2. The per diem method: The per diem method places a monetary value, which is usually your wages per day, on each day that you are in pain or mentally and emotionally suffering. Therefore, if you typically make $150 per day and it takes you 200 days to heal from your injuries, your pain and suffering will be $30,000.

How to prove non-economic damages and losses

Certain forms of evidence can help demonstrate the extent of your pain and suffering and other human losses:

  • Journal entries: Start a journal entry immediately after the accident, documenting your physical and mental pain, symptoms, and hardships. This can give the judge or jury an idea about how the accident and injuries have affected you physically, mentally, and emotionally.
  • Witness statements: Friends, family, caregivers, or coworkers may be able to provide a statement about how your life has been impacted from the accident and injuries. They can explain how you struggle physically and mentally each day, which may be able to give a detailed look at your pain and suffering. Your lawyer may also hire an expert witness to explain your injuries and how they cause pain and suffering.
  • Photos and videos: Visual evidence of your injuries and daily activities can illustrate your pain and suffering.
  • Medical records and reports: Medical records and reports will show that you visited a doctor for your pain and suffering and are following a treatment plan in hopes of recovering. Your doctor may also make notes describing the severity of your injuries and what types of diagnoses you have had, which are essential to proving pain and suffering.
  • Counseling and psychological reports: When a person is suffering mentally or emotionally, their doctor will likely recommend that they see a counselor or psychologist. If you have done this, you can use the reports from these appointments to show what type of mental and emotional problems you are facing due to the accident.

Philbrook Law Office has a solid reputation for helping clients file claims and fight for compensation for pain and suffering and other human losses. Our personal injury lawyers in Vancouver and Battle Ground, WA understand the stress and frustration. If you are ready to begin building a case, collecting valuable evidence and information, and pursuing fair compensation for your pain and suffering, call our office or submit our contact form to schedule a free case evaluation today. We represent Oregon accident victims as well.