During personal injury cases, plaintiffs often seek to recover out-of-pocket expenses and “pain and suffering” compensation. Out-of-pocket expenses, which include medical bills and prescriptions, are pretty easy to document and prove using simple evidence like receipts and bills. Pain and suffering, on the other hand, is more difficult to prove, since it is often intangible.
Simply put, pain and suffering settlements compensate the victim for physical and/or emotional stress associated with an accident and the injuries caused by it. This can include anything from actual physical pain associated with injuries to emotional and mental suffering, such as fear during the accident or treatment of injuries, insomnia following the accident, grief over loss of an ability or a loved one, worry, or, inconveniences faced. You also may be able to receive compensation for future pain and suffering if you can document that your damages will be ongoing.
Since pain and suffering compensation covers a large range of conditions that can be quite difficult to put a monetary value on, proving pain and suffering is not always easy. After all, a person’s suffering is subjective, and juries tend to be skeptical of high claims for pain and suffering. However, there are several ways that personal injury attorneys can prove pain and suffering.
A common way to show pain and suffering is to get witnesses to testify about the victim. Expert medical witnesses, such as an independent physician, can provide credible explanations of the pain and suffering that they would have suffered based on the injuries sustained. This can be backed up with discussions of any drugs prescribed to treat the pain, the difficulties associated with surgeries undergone, or medical understanding of pain associated with those particular injuries. A psychologist could similarly testify about the mental anguish, fear or other emotional suffering that the plaintiff underwent.
Lay witnesses can also be useful in proving pain and suffering. Friends and family of the victim can testify that the victim has withdrawn from participation in social events or activities due to his or her pain and suffering. Co-workers or employers could testify about how the plaintiff’s career may have suffered. In a personal injury case, the plaintiff’s family doctor also may testify as a lay witness as to how the injury affected the plaintiff’s physical and mental health. Any insights and evidence about difficulties that the victim has dealt with are often helpful when proving pain and suffering.
Some evidence for pain and suffering requires no witness testimony. A lawyer may ask the jury to make inferences regarding the plaintiff’s pain and suffering based on particular facts of the case. For example, if the nature of the accident was particularly violent or scary, it may be clear that the plaintiff suffered. Other times, particular injuries, like losing a body part, can show a certain assumed level of pain and suffering. Demonstrative evidence, including photographs, videos, exhibition of injuries, and courtroom demonstrations often assist in establishing the nature of the pain or suffering that a victim went through.
All together, this evidence can create a compelling case for receiving pain and suffering compensation. In general, every case is different, and an experienced personal injury attorney will be able to look at the facts to put together the best case for you to receive the highest compensation. If you have been injured in an accident in the Chicago area and are looking for compensation for your pain and suffering, call us at (312) 236-2900 for a free consultation to find out how we can help get you the settlement you deserve. We are so dedicated to helping you win that you will pay no fee until you do, so call us risk-free today to learn more.