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How to Prove Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury Case

After you’ve suffered personal injury in an accident, you may just want relief. Recovery feels a long way off, mounting expenses add to your burden, and you don’t know where to turn.

You may have heard the term “pain and suffering” bandied about in TV courtroom dramas, but you wonder what exactly it means, and how you can prove your own pain and suffering. 

If you file an insurance claim, but the insurance companies are reluctant to pay you out, filing a personal injury lawsuit may be your only road to just compensation. Let’s take a look at how you can prove pain and suffering in a personal injury case.

How to Prove Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury

The legal definition of pain and suffering

Legally, pain and suffering covers both the emotional and physical trauma you’ve suffered as the result of someone else’s negligence. It’s a broad category and many struggles you face as the result of your accident may qualify as pain and suffering.

A personal injury lawyer may advise you to include pain and suffering in the non-economic damages you might seek in the estimated monetary value you include in  your lawsuit.    

Damages are the monetary amounts awarded in a personal injury case.

What are damages?

Damages are the monetary amounts awarded in a personal injury case. Legally, these damages are broken down into three categories:

  • Economic:

Economic damages refer to the losses you’ve incurred as a result of another party’s negligence that have a set monetary value. For example, medical treatment expenses, lost wages, and repair or replacement costs are all considered economic damages.

  • Non-economic:

Non-economic damages cover the losses you’ve endured that don’t have a set monetary value. Your personal injury lawyer can advise you on the financial amount you should seek for these damages. Non-economic damages include loss of limb, loss of quality of life, and pain and suffering.

  • Punitive:

Punitive damages are typically handed down by a judge or jury in a personal injury case, and added to your awarded settlement. These damages are considered a deterrent and punishment for a party that has displayed extreme gross negligence.  

Physical pain and suffering

Physical pain and suffering can prove easier to determine in a personal injury case than emotional trauma. However, it’s important that you know what this category covers so that you can include valid claims in your lawsuit.

Physical pain and suffering may include:

  • Chronic pain
  • Eye injuries
  • Facial injuries
  • Loss of vision or hearing
  • Nerve damage
  • Paralysis
  • Scarring
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Third degree burns
  • Torn ligaments
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)  

Emotional trauma

Emotional trauma covers any mental and psychological pain and suffering you’ve suffered as a result of your personal injury accident. If you’ve endured any of the following, you may be able to claim emotional pain and suffering:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Panic attacks
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Indiana laws on pain and suffering 

It’s important that you understand the laws surrounding pain and suffering in Indiana before you include these damages in your personal injury case:

  • Statute of limitations:

In Indiana, state code § 34-11-2-4 mandates that you have exactly two years from the date your personal injuries occurred to file your personal injury lawsuit. This statute of limitations means that you may not have further legal recourse if this time expires before you file your case. 

  • Comparative negligence (also known as comparative fault):

If you are determined to hold at least 50% of the liability in your personal injury case, you may not have a valid legal claim to compensation. If you are over 0% at fault, but less than 50%, the amount you’re awarded in your case may be reduced.

Why you should hire a personal injury lawyer

Why you should hire a personal injury lawyer

Although you can pursue a personal injury case on your own, a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer may be more well-suited to navigate your legal path and prove your pain and suffering. 

A personal injury lawyer can help you:

  • Explore the merits of your case
  • Gather evidence
  • Represent you in negotiations and settlement meetings  
  • File time-sensitive legal paperwork with the courts
  • Fight for you in court

How to determine pain and suffering    

A personal injury lawyer can help you to prove pain and suffering in your case by gathering evidence and interviewing eyewitnesses to your accident along with forensic experts who may be able to provide testimony to bolster your case.

The right attorney may utilize the following to prove your pain and suffering:

  • Documented evidence of all medical treatment and diagnosis you’ve received as a result of your injuries. This may include doctor’s appointments, psychiatric treatment, prescriptions (including antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications), procedures, rehabilitation services, surgeries, and any other treatments.
  • Evidence of loss of enjoyment. If you’ve had to drop out of activities that you enjoyed before your accident, or can no longer participate in your normal daily life, this could help prove your pain and suffering
  • Photo and video documentation of your ongoing pain and suffering
  • Proof of missed work time. If you’ve had to take time off of work due to your injuries, this may strengthen your pain and suffering claim 
  • Testimony from your loved ones. This may help to prove how your injuries have impacted you emotionally, mentally, and physically
  • Testimony from any medical experts, including doctors, psychiatrists, and counselors, who have treated you as a result of your injuries  
  • Personal records of your anguish. After you’ve been impacted by trauma caused by another, it may be helpful to write down your symptoms and experiences in a journal. This can help you to articulate your experiences with pain and suffering, and may bolster your case. 
  • Police and injury reports. If you filed a police report, a work incident report, or an injury report at a private business, this may help to strengthen your pain and suffering claim.  

Indiana personal injury lawyers can help

If you’ve experienced pain and suffering as a result of an accident in Indiana, it may be wise to consult a lawyer. A personal injury lawyer with a proven success record may be your best path to success when negotiating a pain and suffering claim. 

You may not know how to navigate the legal process on your own, or have the ability to prove your pain and suffering in a personal injury case on your own. An attorney understands the individual needs and the nuances of every case, and can help you in every vital step of your lawsuit.

The personal injury attorneys of Yosha Law consider our clients a part of our extended family. We care about your individual needs, and want you to recover from your pain and suffering. Your justice remains our greatest priority. We will help you negotiate your pain and suffering and fight for what you’re owed.

Contact us today for a free case evaluation, and remember, you don’t have to walk the path to justice alone.

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