A personal injury accident often causes physical and emotional or mental injuries. Anyone who doubts that these mental or emotional injuries are real and traumatic need only consider the depression that can set in when a person realizes that he or she is no longer able to participate in his or her favorite pastime. Or the trauma and fear that a person experiences any time he or she sits in a car after having been seriously injured in a car accident. Compensation for these mental injuries are often pursued in personal injury cases (under the name, “pain and suffering” damages). Do you know how to go about proving not only the existence of these injuries but also their extent?
Proving Pain and Suffering Damages
In some cases, the existence of mental or emotional injuries is easy to prove. Records from therapists and counselors consulted after the accident often provide a clear picture of the extent and nature of the victim’s mental or emotional trauma. Where a counselor or therapist was not consulted, family, friends, neighbors, and/or coworkers (for instance) can all attest to their personal observations of the victim following the accident. This group of lay witnesses will also be necessary to talk about the victim’s life and demeanor prior to the accident. For example, a friend may testify that the victim used to be lively and active and would never miss her morning run. The friend may then testify that, since the accident, the victim rarely leaves her living room, is always downcast and sullen when with others, and only talks about how much she misses running.
Therefore, when proving the existence of pain and suffering damages, it is usually necessary to establish the attitude, activities, and demeanor of the victim before the accident as well as the changes that have taken place since the accident occurred. The greater the disparity between these two periods of the victim’s life, the easier it will be to establish pain and suffering.
Proving the Value of Pain and Suffering Damages
The value of pain and suffering damages is much more difficult to determine as it is so personal. How much is a constant ache that won’t go away worth? What amount of money adequately compensates someone who is now in constant fear of getting into an automobile? These are intensely personal questions that will differ from case to case. The “cost” of an ache or pain to a young and formerly-healthy victim who was active may be different from the “cost” of that same ache or pain to an elderly individual who had previous mobility problems.
Unless a statute limits the amount of “pain and suffering” damages that can be sought, victims are free to pursue pain and suffering damages in any amount they believe is supported by the evidence. The greater the difference between the victim’s life before the injury accident and the victim’s life since the accident, the greater the amount of pain and suffering damages the victim can recover (generally speaking, of course).
Why an Attorney’s Help is Crucial – Seasoned Kansas City Personal Injury Lawyer Michael R. Lawless possesses the experience and knowledge necessary to help you properly value your “pain and suffering” damages. He will help you to understand what amount of pain and suffering damages is realistic in your case and will fight aggressively and zealously to help you obtain an amount that fairly compensates you. He can assist you in locating the evidence and individuals you need to help prove the existence and extent of your pain and suffering damages. Contact the office of Michael R. Lawless for assistance with your personal injury case by calling (800) 734-3771.