When individuals fall victim to accidents resulting from another party’s negligence, the law entitles them to seek compensation through personal injury claims. Compensation should cover all the various aspects of a victim’s losses, like medical bills, lost wages, and crucially, pain and suffering. However, unlike medical costs or lost income, pain and suffering damages are intangible. They don’t come with receipts, which complicates things. How will your personal injury lawyer in Louisville, KY evaluate these damages?
Thinking Through What Constitutes Pain and Suffering
This aspect involves understanding a victim’s direct physical discomfort and distress, as caused by the injury. It encompasses the pain endured due to the injury itself and the adverse effects that the victim may likely suffer in the future as a result of the defendant’s negligence.
Mental pain and suffering can stem from bodily injury and can comprise emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, fear, frustration, anger, depression, anxiety, and even more severe conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Methods of Calculating Pain and Suffering
Once all the aspects of the pain and suffering involved are understood, the focus shifts to evaluation. It’s vital for victims to realize that there is no exact science in this calculation; often, the assessment is as nuanced as the case itself.
The Multiplier Method
One common approach in calculating pain and suffering is the multiplier method. This involves multiplying the total of the claimant’s actual damages (medical bills and lost earnings) by a number, typically between 1.5 and 5. How this number, or multiplier, is decided will depend on several factors, including:
- The severity of the injuries
- The recovery time and potential for ongoing consequences
- The impact the injuries have on daily life
- Exactly who is at fault and to what degree
The “Per Diem” Approach
Another strategy that’s less common in Kentucky, but may be applicable in some cases, is the “per diem” method, which assigns a certain dollar amount for every day the claimant endures pain and suffering caused by the accident until they reach full recovery. The main challenge here lies in justifying the daily rate and explaining why it sufficiently covers the victim’s agony and distress.
Factors Influencing Pain and Suffering Damages
Credibility and Consistency
Inconsistent stories or statements that contradict the evidence can severely damage a victim’s reliability and, consequently, the case. Thus, maintaining consistency and transparency throughout the legal process is paramount.
Detailed medical records provide an authoritative basis for any pain and suffering claim. They document the extent of the injuries, the prescribed treatment, and the prognosis, which are all vital in establishing the extent of pain and suffering a victim has gone through.
Personal Accounts and Witness Statements
Diaries detailing daily pain levels, emotional distress, and hindered activities can substantiate a claim for pain and suffering. Additionally, statements from family, friends, or co-workers can help paint a comprehensive picture of the victim’s life before and after the incident, highlighting the non-economic impacts the injury has had.
Talk With a Personal Injury Lawyer in Louisville, KY to Learn More
Quantifying pain and suffering may be complex, but it is by no means impossible. It demands a systematic approach, an understanding of legal requirements and precedents, and a compassionate acknowledgment of the victim’s situation hardship. If you’ve been injured, contact Winton & Hiestand Law Group PLLC today to talk with experienced personal injury lawyers who can help you.