What Qualifies as Pain and Suffering?

Published on Feb 20, 2024 at 8:38 pm in Negligent Security.

What Qualifies as Pain and Suffering?

The pain and suffering experienced by someone after being injured can have a serious, even life-long impact on the victim’s life.

In the context of personal injury cases, understanding the legal standards for pain and suffering, especially when due to negligence or intentional wrongdoing, is crucial. It not only helps you determine if you qualify for compensation but also provides guidance on how to pursue that compensation effectively.

In this post, we’ll discuss what qualifies as pain and suffering, the types of pain and suffering that are recognized by the law, things that may impact compensation for pain and suffering, and how state-specific regulations can impact compensation.

Pain and Suffering Defined

Personal injury compensation typically includes both economic damages, such as medical expenses and lost earnings, as well as noneconomic damages, like damages from pain and suffering.

Pain and suffering, legally defined, refers to the physical pain and emotional turmoil a victim experiences due to a personal injury accident, which can be compensated for as noneconomic damages in a legal case.

These damages are distinct from economic damages.

What This Concept Refers To

To qualify for compensation following an injury, specific legal requirements must be met, and pain and suffering must be proven.

Considerations like the severity of the injury, the impact on daily life, emotional distress, and long-term residual effects all play a part in determining the eligibility for compensation.

Both physical pain and mental suffering are recognized by the law and can directly affect the amount of compensation awarded. It’s important to consult with a qualified personal injury lawyer to understand the specific qualifications for pain and suffering in your jurisdiction.

Examples of Pain and Suffering Recognized by the Law

The law recognizes a variety of pain and suffering damages that can be claimed in a personal injury lawsuit. These damages extend beyond physical pain and encompass mental suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, physical impairment, disfigurement, and more.

Examples of pain and suffering damages include specific injuries such as:

  • Neck or back pain
  • Broken bones
  • Headaches
  • Cognitive changes
  • Psychological trauma (PTSD, anxiety, grief, depression)
  • Diminished quality of life

It’s essential to document these and any other types of pain and suffering through medical records, therapy sessions, personal journals, and other relevant evidence to support your claim for pain and suffering damages.

Factors Impacting Compensation When Claiming These Losses

The severity of the injury will play a significant role in determining the potential compensation for pain and suffering, as well. More severe injuries generally result in higher rates of compensation.

There are a couple of different methods used to calculate pain and suffering settlements that you should be aware of. These are the per diem method and the multiplier method.

The per diem method assigns a set rate for each day that pain endures.

The multiplier method, on the other hand, multiplies the economic damages (medical expenses, lost earnings, etc.) by a set number to determine the pain and suffering compensation.

So, what does that mean?

Let’s say, for example, that the court or insurance company determines that the total economic damages from your injury are $75,000, and the multiplier, based on the severity of your pain, emotional distress, and the impact of the injury has on your life is set at 3.

Your total compensation, then, including both economic and noneconomic factors, would be $75,000 multiplied times 3, for a total of $225,000.

Note: The multiplier typically ranges in severity between 1.5 and 5.

It’s important to note that these calculations, as simple as they may seem on paper, are an extremely complex process involving many factors – some of which may not even be directly related to your specific case, such as prior legal determinations.

The exact multiplier used and what determines it can vary significantly from case to case. As you can see, the total compensation from a rating of 5, compared to a rating of 2, equates to a serious difference in redress.

Consulting with a legal professional experienced in personal injury cases is essential to determine the appropriate multiplier and ensure a fair compensation amount.

Never allow an insurance company or other financially responsible party to arbitrability make these decisions, as they will rarely have your best interest at heart.

This type of arbitration is exactly what a skilled personal injury attorney is trained for and practiced in.

It’s what they do best.

Considerations for Pain and Suffering Damages in Maryland

Each state may have its own regulations and guidelines for determining compensation.

Additionally, some states impose caps or limits on pain and suffering damages, which may impact the maximum compensation that can be received.

For example, beginning on January 1, 2023, Maryland’s cap for noneconomic damages in general civil litigation cases was $935,000.00. However, effective October 1, 2023, the Maryland General Assembly’s House Bill 862 repeals the caps on noneconomic damages in civil actions for personal injury, wrongful death, and related provisions.

Being familiar with the laws and regulations in your specific state, as well as when and how they may change, is crucial for supporting your case.

Maximizing Settlement Offers for Non-Economic Damages

Maximizing the settlement for pain and suffering damages requires sufficient evidence to support your claim. This evidence may include medical records, expert testimony, photographs, statements from family and friends, and evaluations from mental health providers.

It’s highly recommended that you seek the assistance of a personal injury lawyer who can gather the necessary evidence and present the damages effectively on your behalf.

Their expertise and experience in handling personal injury cases can help ensure that all relevant evidence is collected and presented compellingly, strengthening your case and maximizing the chances of receiving fair compensation for pain and suffering.

For example, a personal injury lawyer can:

  • Help gather medical records that document the extent of the injuries, associated pain, and suffering.
  • Work with medical experts who can provide testimony regarding the long-term effects of the injuries on the individual’s physical and mental well-being.
  • Gather statements from friends and family members who can provide insight into the individual’s pain and suffering and how it has impacted their daily life.

Understanding the legal qualifications for pain and suffering is essential when pursuing a personal injury claim.  By being aware of your area’s specific criteria and requirements, you can determine if you’re eligible for compensation and how to best pursue it. Reaching out to an experienced Baltimore negligent security lawyer will only help you during the entire legal process.

With the right guidance and evidence, you can get the compensation you deserve for the physical and mental discomfort you’ve endured, especially when it’s due to someone else’s negligence or intentional wrongdoing.



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