How Does Pain and Suffering Factor Into Your Settlement Amount?
Victims of personal injury accidents can recover for pain and suffering here in California, which essentially boils down to non-economic damages that do not have a specific cost associated with them. Many personal injury accidents can permanently change a victim’s life, so the category of pain and suffering can comprise a large component of a victim’s personal injury financial recovery.
Are Pain and Suffering Damages Available in All Personal Injury Cases?
Pain and suffering damages are available for the vast majority of personal injury lawsuits here in California, which two notable exceptions:
- It is not available for workers compensation claims
- In medical malpractice claims, the victim’s financial recovery is capped at $250,000 total for all non-economic damages combined, which includes pain and suffering
How Do I Know If Pain and Suffering Damages Apply to My Case?
In California, there is not a set formula for determining the amount of pain and suffering incurred in a personal injury claim. The plaintiff must prove that the suffering has either already happened or is certain to occur in the future. Some of the factors to be considered in determining whether or not your settlement or jury verdict will include pain and suffering include the following:
- The amount of your economic losses
- The severity of your physical injuries; in general, mild injuries inflict less pain and suffering on the victim
- How egregious the defendant’s wrongdoings were
- How strong your evidence is
Do I Have to Be Physically Injured?
Physical injuries are not necessarily required in order to recover for pain and suffering, but their existence may make it easier for you to prove. Pain and suffering is generally easier to prove when there is a physical injury and any of the following:
- The victim has suffered permanent disfigurement or loss of function
- Medical costs are high. In general, people experience more stress in their lives when doctor’s bills are piling up, and they frequently need medical attention
- Your injuries can be verified by some sort of objective criteria, such as an MRI, x-rays, CT-scan, or lab results
- Your recovery process was difficult or took a long time, or is very likely to do so in the future
How Will My Attorney Prove the Pain and Suffering That I Have Endured?
It can be challenging to attain damages for your pain and suffering, which is one important reason to have an experienced personal injury lawyer represent you. Some of the tools that your attorney will use to build your case for pain and suffering include the following:
- All medical records
- Doctors and therapist notes
- Photographic proof of your physical injuries and property damage
- Video evidence of what your day-to-day life is now like compared to what it was like before you were injured
- Written communication between you and your loved ones, whether via text, email, or social media
- Testimony of coworkers, friends, or relatives
- Proof of your time missed from work
- Testimony from an expert that could touch on the amount of pain and suffering you experienced
We Are Always Available
For over 25 years, Ellis Injury Law has stood on the side of injured Southern Californians and aggressively pursued justice on their behalf. We know that when pain and suffering comes into the picture, you and your family are enduring a highly stressful and challenging time. That’s why we seek to take the burden of litigation off your shoulders so that you can focus fully on recovery.
If you have questions about how pain and suffering factors into your case, call the personal injury lawyers at Ellis Injury Law 24/7 to schedule your free consultation. We do not charge our clients anything unless we recover compensation on their behalf.