What Is “Pain And Suffering” In Personal Injury Law?

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“Pain and suffering” is a term that’s used in personal injury law to describe both the emotional distress and physical injuries that a plaintiff has suffered. It’s one of the critical elements in a personal injury law case that can help determine the financial settlement amount. 

While physical injuries are usually apparent, the mental aspect of pain and suffering could potentially take weeks or even months to manifest. This can lead to expensive long-term medical treatment, disability, or even the loss of your job, family, and friends.

Let’s explore the various elements of pain and suffering, associated signs and symptoms, and explain how damages are calculated. We’ll then tell you what you should do if you’ve suffered injuries as the result of the negligence of another person.

Physical Pain

Physical pain deals with any injuries that you sustained during the incident. However, it also includes future damages that you might suffer as a result of the negligence of the other party. 

Some physical pain symptoms don’t manifest themselves right away. For example, you might feel 100% fine, albeit a bit shaken up after an auto accident. No broken bones, no cuts, no scrapes. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have escaped injury. 

Such injuries as whiplash and back pain can take days or even weeks to manifest. If you forgo hiring an attorney and instead settle with the insurance company, you could potentially lose the right to file a claim if you start to experience whiplash symptoms at a later date.

Emotional Distress

Emotional distress covers such things as depression, loss of appetite, anger, mood swings, and sexual dysfunction, to name just a few. These types of injuries are usually a by-product of the physical injuries, but not always. It’s entirely possible to develop a debilitating mental condition called post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.

PTSD is a psychological disorder in which the victim “relives” the incident or accident and suffers emotional stress, flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety. The American Family Physician organization released a report that stated that it’s relatively common for injured individuals to develop PTSD after a car accident.

Generally speaking, PTSD can sometimes be challenging to prove in a court of law. This is why an expert witness will sometimes need to be brought in to testify on your behalf to provide a valid medical opinion regarding your suffering.

Symptoms and Signs 

While the physical signs of pain and suffering are usually obvious, the emotional aspect is sometimes more sublime. Psychological distress and PTSD can manifest themselves through obsessive thoughts, wild mood swings, and radical changes in behavior. Each person is unique, and they will react to and deal with emotional distress differently.

PTSD symptoms can sometimes get worse as time goes by. Drug and alcohol abuse, memory or concentration problems, and the inability to care for one’s self could be indicators that the emotional distress is worsening. 

People who suffer from emotional distress often require years or even decades of expensive medical or psychological treatment. This is why you must retain the services of a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. They can help advise and start you down the path to seek medical help and justice for your pain and suffering.

How to Prove Pain and Suffering?

There are several ways attorneys go about proving the pain and suffering of their clients. Medical records, expert witnesses, and even testimony from the plaintiff themselves are all useful ways of establishing a claim. 

It should be noted that pain and suffering can be challenging to prove at times. This is why attorneys advise their clients to visit the doctor, save their paperwork, and sometimes get a second medical opinion. If a plaintiff provides ample evidence, paperwork, and convincing testimony, it can increase their chances of success.

When it comes to determining how much the insurance company or defendant will payout, there are no set guidelines. If someone slips, falls and breaks a leg, they won’t receive a pre-determined amount of money under the law. If an insurance company refuses to settle out of court, then it’s up to the judge, jury, or arbitrator to determine the actual damages awarded.

Personal Injury Attorney in South Charlotte and Ballantyne 

 After you’ve received proper medical care and gathered up any paperwork or evidence, contact us at (704) 887-4981. At Bumgardner Law Offices, we have helped countless Ballantyne and South Charlotte residents with their pain and suffering cases. 

We understand that pain and suffering can be a traumatic time in the life of someone who’s suffered an injury as the result of the negligence of another party. We’ll work and fight hard for your rights so that you can begin the process of healing and seek the justice that you deserve.

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