Anyone who has experienced an injury caused by the negligence or wrongdoing of another party — such as an automobile accident, medical malpractice, or workplace accident — can choose to pursue legal action against the at-fault party for compensation. Typically, personal injury lawsuits seek damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. While financial damages such as medical bills are easily calculable, damage amounts for subjective aspects of the case, such as pain and suffering, can be more difficult to determine.
For many victims, knowing how much compensation they are entitled to receive can be an important factor in their decision to file suit or not. Although it is difficult to accurately determine how much insurance companies will pay for pain and suffering, having an understanding of how pain and suffering works in the legal system can help victims become informed.
What Is Considered “Pain and Suffering”?
Pain and suffering is a specific category that is factored into the total of damages that are calculated for personal injury cases. Unlike medical bills, lost wages, or property damage — all of which are calculable — pain and suffering refers to more general or subjective damages that are caused by the incident and that negatively impact the victim’s life in a variety of ways. There are many different factors that can be considered repercussions of pain and suffering.
For example, if a victim in an automobile accident is paralyzed as a result of the crash, pain and suffering damages are calculated to compensate them for the mental and emotional cost of never being able to walk again. Other examples of pain and suffering include mental distress, emotional trauma, long-term physical discomfort, shortened life span, scars or disfigurements that affect the victim’s confidence, or other losses that may or may not be directly related to medical conditions.
Every case is unique, and every state has its own standards when calculating pain and suffering. The amount of money awarded for this category of damages varies greatly from case to case and is highly subjective. Texas personal injury lawyers, such as those at Lopez Law Group, can help victims who are seeking compensation understand the various factors to consider when seeking damages for pain and suffering in Texas. Those factors typically include liability insurance coverage limits, injury severity, and ability to prove pain and suffering.
Liability Insurance of the At-Fault Party
Often, pain and suffering damage amounts are affected by the payout limits of the at-fault party’s liability insurance policy. Liability insurance is often required by law and helps to pay for damages in the event the policy holder is held liable for negligence or wrongdoing. For example, if a driver is found liable for a car accident, their liability insurance would help cover the cost of repairs, medical expenses, and pain and suffering of the victim.
If the at-fault party’s liability insurance coverage limit is below the desired damage amount, victims and their legal representation must decide if they would like to file suit against the at-fault party and hold them accountable for the rest of the compensation amount. Personal injury lawyers can advocate for victims and help them make the best possible decision.
The amount of damages for pain and suffering is also dependent on how severe the victim’s injuries are, both mentally and physically. For example, someone who lost total mobility would likely receive more pain and suffering compensation than someone who experienced a partial reduction in mobility.
Proof of Pain and Suffering
Regardless of how severe the injury is or whether the at-fault party has adequate liability insurance coverage, the victim will have to prove that they experienced pain and suffering that warrants compensation. It’s not enough for a victim to simply claim something such as mental distress. They would likely need to provide documentation, such as a mental health professional’s written or verbal testimony, to support that claim. Ways victims can prove pain and suffering include:
- Documented (written or verbal) opinion of medical professionals or industry experts
- Medical history records from before the accident as well as after to prove a change in the victim’s physical or mental state
- Written documentation, such as a journal entries, of the victim’s mental and emotional experiences following the accident
- Testimony (written or verbal) by the victim’s friends, family, or coworkers supporting the victim’s claims
No matter what level of pain and suffering a victim seeks to claim, the expertise of an experienced personal injury lawyer can help increase the viability of a case.
The Lopez Law Group Can Help
The Lopez Law Group has decades of experience representing clients in a variety of personal injury cases. From auto accidents to on-the-job injuries and beyond, our Texas personal injury lawyers can help you take the best possible course of legal action. We are determined to help victims get the compensation they deserve.
Our Texas-based auto accident and personal injury lawyers are proud to serve Houston, Weslaco, Tyler, Spring, Mission, McAllen, Laredo, Edinburg, Corpus Christi, Brownsville, Harlingen, and other locations throughout the state. Contact us online or call (956) 968-7800 to schedule your free case consultation.