Some personal injury damages can be easily calculated. A victim’s medical bills can be added up. The injured person’s lost wages can be verified by the employer. Pain and suffering, however, requires legal preparation and know how. The jury can award any pain and suffering award they think properly compensates the victim for daily physical pain and emotional distress. Insurance companies pay for pain and suffering in amounts that reflect a range of considerations.
Key considerations in pain and suffering awards
Juries and adjustors will consider the following matters when determining the pain and suffering portion of a plaintiff’s damages:
- The type of injury the victim sustained. Permanent injuries should generate higher pain and suffering awards than injuries that heal in a short amount of time.
- The number of surgeries the victim must undergo. Each surgery includes risks, anxiety, physical discomfort, and some rehabilitation.
- The amount of doctor visits required. Each doctor visit takes time. Frequent doctor visits indicate that the patient is in a lot of continuous pain.
- The physical appearance of the claimant. When injuries are visible, or if the victim looks to be physically in pain, this tends to have more of an impact.
- The testimony of friends and family. The people who live with the patient and spend time with him/her are often called in to testify about what activities the victim can and cannot perform since the injury. Juries and adjustors have a right to know if the claimant can no longer play with their children, do house chores, participate in sports, eat, drive, or do other regular tasks.
- The medical testimony and reports of the treating doctors. Adjusters and juries place a lot of trust in what doctors say. Doctors who detail a person’s pain help plaintiffs get larger results.
It helps the plaintiff if the testimony of all the witnesses, including any medical professionals, is consistent. If a patient tells one doctor a different version of what happened than another physician, that inconsistency can severely damage the amount of the damage award. Good personal injury lawyers will review the plaintiff’s medical records and speak to the witnesses before the trial to present the plaintiff’s case in the best possible light. The lawyers will work to prepare the injury victim for questions the defense lawyer will ask.
When someone suffers a catastrophic injury—such as a traumatic brain injury or a spinal cord injury that causes paralysis—the medical expenses to care for the victim can be staggering. Catastrophic injuries completely change the victim’s quality of life and their ability to function. Coping with catastrophic injuries can feel like an impossible task for many. We work with medical and psychological professionals who can demonstrate to juries how life altering it can be to manage and adjust to these changes.
Skilled Chicago personal injury attorneys will also explain to the plaintiff that being shy while talking about the pain can hurt their case. Juries need to hear the depth of pain the victim is experiencing if they are going to award significant dollars. At Gainsberg Law, P.C., our lawyers take the time to explain how much a person’s life has been negatively impacted because of another’s negligence. To speak with lawyers who have earned the trust of their clients, please call our office at 312-313-1621 to schedule an appointment or compete our contact form.