What is Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury Claim?
Personal injury claims are brought to hold the negligent party accountable for the damages they caused. Pain and suffering is a part of the compensation provided in a personal injury claim. But what is it? Pain and suffering is the legal term for the physical and emotional stress caused by an injury; it is a non-economic loss that is worthy of financial compensation.
Some damages that fall under the pain and suffering portion of a personal injury claim are:
- A loss of enjoyment or disruption to the way you normally live your life
- Temporary or life-long limitations on activity
- Loss of the ability to communicate effectively
- Loss of eyesight
- Debilitating physical impairments or disabilities such as paralysis
- Mental and emotional distress
- Aches and chronic pain
- Physical deformities or disfigurements such as severe scarring or loss of a limb
- Forced infertility or the loss of reproductive organs
- Shortened life span
How is pain and suffering proved in a personal injury claim?
In a successful injury claim, your personal injury lawyer will secure compensation for pain and suffering by proving that you have suffered. In order to prove that you have endured or continue to endure pain and suffering, the accident attorney gathers relevant information, including:
- Medical diagnoses
- Medical bills
- Medical records
- Pictures of injuries
- Records of psychiatric care
- Testimony from medical experts, as needed
How is pain and suffering calculated?
In addition to proving pain and suffering, the law also requires that a value is assigned to it. A personal injury lawyer can accurately identify the value of your claim based on your injuries. If you bear partial fault for the accident, there was no damage to the vehicle or if the injuries were minor, you can expect the insurance adjuster to reduce your pain and suffering offer. The injury lawyer also factors in a settlement range that is most likely to be offered in negotiations or in a jury award. This information gives the plaintiff a good idea of what compensation they can expect for their pain and suffering from a reasonable offer.
One of the many advantages of hiring a personal injury attorney to help with a personal injury claim is their help calculating a dollar value for your pain and suffering.
Is there a time limit on recovering for pain and suffering?
Yes, personal injury claims come with a “statute of limitations” that puts a cap on the time that an injury claim may be filed. If a claim is brought after the deadline, the judge may deny the claim. In Washington State, most injury claims have a three-year statute of limitations but an exception is made for minors who have three years from the day they turn 18 to file a claim.
There are also practical reasons for contacting an attorney as soon as possible:
- Filing an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit takes time.
- The farther away from the accident, the harder it is to remember details or to keep track of witnesses.
Seek the help of a personal injury attorney
If you or a loved one was injured because of the negligence of another, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the personal injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!