If you’ve been injured in Tennessee due to someone else’s wrongdoing, even if it was just an accident, the law allows you to pursue recovery for your losses by filing a personal injury claim. Since we cannot go back in time, the most common measure of damages is monetary compensation designed to make you whole, as if the injury never happened in the first place. Being made whole comes in different forms. First, you can be reimbursed for direct losses and expenses such as medical bills, lost wages, future lost earnings, or future medical bills. What about losses that cannot be directly quantified? Those losses, non-economic in nature, are most commonly referred to as pain and suffering.
What Is Pain and Suffering?
In a civil trial for a personal injury claim, members of the jury are often given this definition, read by the Judge in open court: “Pain and suffering. Pain and suffering is reasonable compensation for any physical pain and discomfort and for mental pain and discomfort suffered by the plaintiff, [and the present cash value for physical and mental discomfort likely to be experienced in the future.] Mental discomfort includes anguish, grief, shame, or worry.”
Pain and suffering damages are subjective, as any given car accident, slip and fall, or injury caused by an unsafe product can affect different people in different ways. To determine pain and suffering, consider the following factors: plaintiff’s age, lifestyle of the plaintiff before the accident, how the accident affected activities of daily life, whether the plaintiff could not do extracurricular activities, medical diagnosis, type of treatment, length of treatment, and permanent limitations.
How to Prove Pain and Suffering
Recovering for pain and suffering depends on identifying relevant evidence and being able to effectively present the evidence to the insurance company or their attorney, if the case proceeds to litigation. Evidence can come from many sources. Medical records normally play an important role in a personal injury insurance claim. Medical records will provide a patient history (including preexisting conditions) and official diagnosis. They will then lay out the treatment plan and provide any limitations, such as weight-bearing restrictions. Witness testimony is also vital, as these people can give a firsthand account of how they think the victim’s life was affected.
If an accident renders you unable to live the life to which you were accustomed, you should be prepared to fully explain how and why. To put it into context, consider the example of a driver rear-ended on Interstate 24 in Knoxville by someone who was looking down and texting. At the time of the wreck, the victim worked a full-time job while also caring for her two young children, both under 10 years old. Before the accident, she enjoyed hobbies such as gardening and every Sunday, she sang in her Church choir. As a result of the accident, she suffered a broken leg which required surgery and several months of follow up visits for physical therapy and the like. After the surgery, she was forced to miss work and was prescribed medication to alleviate her pain. She had to wear a cast for several months and ambulate with crutches.
In this example, you can see how many ways in which the victim’s life was affected by the auto accident – having to be off of her feet, unable to fully take care of her kids, unable to stand for the choir, etc., not to mention the physical pain she endured from the injury itself. In addition to her own testimony, her lawyer could also call upon individuals such as her treating doctor, co-workers, and family members to also explain how she was affected by this serious wreck.
Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz is the largest plaintiff’s personal injury law firm based in Tennessee, with offices in Memphis, Jackson, and Knoxville. We serve injured victims statewide and are available 24/7 to take your call. You can also reach us by filling out our confidential contact form. Our dedicated personal injury attorneys understand no two cases are the same, and we make it a point to give each client the individual attention he or she deserves. For a free consultation with an injury lawyer in Tennessee now, call us toll-free at 800-529-4004.