What is Conscious Pain and Suffering?

What is Conscious Pain and Suffering?

Just the thought of someone we love dying in a tragic accident is horrifying, let alone if the accident was a result of another person’s wrongdoing. Even worse would be an accident where your loved one either terrifyingly sensed the impending danger or was aware and feeling extreme pain immediately after the accident. In cases where this happens, a Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer may be able to help the plaintiff recover for a category of damages that is referred to as conscious pain and suffering.  

What constitutes conscious pain and suffering? 

At Ellis Injury Law, our compassionate wrongful death lawyers understand that all cases involving wrongful death claims are devastating. In some accidents, such as a truck accident where the victim did not even see the truck approaching and died immediately upon impact, there likely would not have been any conscious pain and suffering. However, there are a number of other wrongful death accidents where the victim likely did experience conscious pain and suffering.  

In the example above of the truck accident, if the victim did not actually die upon impact but was aware and writhing and moaning in pain when the paramedics arrived, then the victim would have experienced conscious pain and suffering. Similarly, even if the victim died immediately upon impact, he or she still would have experienced conscious pain and suffering if he or she saw the truck barreling down seconds before the crash.  

Timing can be crucial  

Clearly, there is a timing element that can help prove conscious pain and suffering, as you cannot prove that the victim was aware of any pain if he or she died immediately. On the other hand, if we rewind the clock to mere moments before the accident took place, then the timing element could indeed demonstrate that the would-be victim experienced conscious suffering due to being terrified of what was about to happen. In this case, even if the victim died immediately upon impact, there was still a period where suffering occurred.  

Along those same lines, the victim must be conscious and aware for a period of time after the accident takes place if the pain is the focus. In many accidents where the victim dies hours or days after the accident, the victim immediately loses consciousness upon impact and never regains it. If this is the case, then the plaintiff’s wrongful death attorney would not be able to prove that the victim was actually aware of any pain. On the other end of the spectrum, in the aftermath of accidents where the victim is able to talk or even just moan in pain, the court views that as evidence of awareness of the pain.  

What are some examples of conscious pain and suffering? 

To further illustrate how conscious pain and suffering works, here are some additional wrongful death fact patterns where it could be found:  

  • Midway through a flight, the plane begins to shake and lose control, quickly descending with no ability to change course. Fearing for their lives, the passengers know that the plane will crash in a matter of seconds, and there is nothing they can do about it. 
  • A pedestrian is walking in a crosswalk when he is struck by a speeding car. When the paramedics arrive at the scene, the victim is screaming and writhing in pain, then dies at the hospital an hour later.  
  • A bus passenger is walking to her seat when the bus driver speeds off and rear-ends a car, causing this passenger to get impaled by one of the metal poles in the bus. The passenger never loses consciousness, but suffers from severe internal injuries, and dies two days later.  

We know how to investigate these cases  

At Ellis Injury Law, we have the experience to fully and properly investigate your case to determine if your loved one did unfortunately experience conscious pain and suffering before ultimately dying. Over the course of more than 25 years, our attorneys have recovered over $350 Million on behalf of our valued clients.  

Call us 24 hours a day  

If you have questions about conscious pain and suffering, give us a call at any time to schedule a free consultation with a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer, as our phone lines are always on. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that we do not collect any fees from you unless you win.