PAIN & SUFFERING DAMAGES


If I asked you what is the one common element seen in medical related cases what would you say? .....................


Would it surprise you if I said the answer is PAIN? Whether it is physical or emotional, pain often plays an important role in the settlement value of medical related cases.


In the clinical setting we are taught that pain is whatever or wherever the patient says it is, meaning it's subjective. Often, this is no different when it comes to legal cases. No matter what type of incident that causes the pain (i.e. falls, car accidents, surgery) or what kind of legal case (i.e. personal injury, medical malpractice, workman's comp, mass tort) only the injured party can truly explain their pain and how their life has been affected.


Although we have established that pain and suffering is subjective, it is important for attorneys and their staff to understand their clients' pain in order to convey how a persons' life has been altered both physically and emotionally. This sometimes can be difficult. Let's say you have a case that goes to trial. An attorney may also have to deal with the reality that each juror will have their own opinion and value of the injured clients' pain and suffering damages. In order to combat this, the attorney and his team must use testimony, medical records, photographs, videos, and other demonstrative evidence tools to paint the full picture of their clients' pain.


Some Common Types of Pain & Suffering Damages Claimed in Lawsuits:


  1. Physical Impairment= injuries that decrease the ability to perform activities of daily living, ability to move, or limit coordination

  2. Disfigurement= If a n injury causes permanent changes or damage to a person physical appearance, or body

  3. Mental Suffering (aka Mental Anguish)= An event/incident that causes chronic emotional trauma. Included in this is grief, anxiety, fright, or feeling of distress

  4. Loss of Quality of Life= this is not only the inability to participate in recreational/leisure activities, but also the loss of health, security, and economic conditions due to an injury

  5. Loss of Enjoyment of Life= when the event or incident in question prevents a person from no longer participation in activities or hobbies that they enjoyed before the injury

  6. Shock= this is psychological and can be triggered by witnessing a similar incident or from injuries a person acquired from an incident

  7. Mortification= when a person feels extremely embarrassed, ashamed, or disgraced after a life changing injury

  8. Loss of Companionship= when an accident/event causes a person to be deprived of the ability to show affection, care, or security ( such as in parenting or the benefits. of married life)

  9. Sexual Dysfunction= when an incident/event deprives a person of the ability to experience pleasure, desire, arousal, sexual activity, or the person struggles to return to the level of sexual activity that was normal to them prior to the incident


There are many other types of pain & suffering damages that can be claimed. Generally, there are no definitive guidelines for calculating the amount of pain and suffering for an injured client and is why many jurors struggle to come up with a fair amount for the verdict. In addition, it will be important to understand each states' laws and limit caps on these types of damages. If you are an LNC keep an eye out for information in the medical records that may pertain to pain and suffering and notify your attorney. You may be able to assist with valuable and compelling demonstrative exhibits.

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