When it comes to pain and suffering, it can be difficult to determine if you have the right to file a claim, and how much you deserve to be awarded. The damages are mainly subjective, and therefore unable to be measured in a mathematical way. This is why it is important to understand the terms and procedures involved if you are considering suing for your pain and suffering.
What is Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering is the legal term used to refer to the physical and emotional stress caused by an injury. The term can be used to describe a number of different issues caused by the injury, including any future pain and suffering. Some of the most common examples include:
- Temporary or permanent physical limitations
- Aches and spasms
- Mental trauma
- Shortening of life
What is Included in Pain and Suffering?
When filing suit for pain and suffering, you are filing what is known as a personal injury lawsuit. In a personal injury lawsuit, the judge and jury take into account certain factors in order to assess the amount of damages to be awarded. In addition to pain and suffering, the factors are as follows:
- Embarrassment and humiliation: Any embarrassment or humiliation as a result of the injury
- Loss of enjoyment of life: The extent to which the injury prevented the victim from enjoying life
- Disfigurement: Facial disfigurements or noticeable scars due to injury or surgery after injury
Aside from these factors, pain and suffering also encompasses any discomfort, inconvenience, or distress caused by the injury.
How Do I Sue a Doctor for Pain and Suffering?
If you are thinking about suing a doctor who you believe is responsible for your pain and suffering, the route you take will depend on how much in damages you are expecting to receive. In Pennsylvania, you can file your claim in small claims court if the damages are less than $8,000, except in Philadelphia where the cap is at $10,000. In small claims court, you are not required to have an attorney. However, it is recommended that you hire one, as you may not be able to depend on the employees of the court for legal advice.
If you believe you deserve more than you are able to receive in small claims court, then it is important that you contact a personal injury attorney about filing a claim against your doctor. They will be able to assist in submitting all necessary documents in a timely manner, and attending the required legal sessions. In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations states you have two years from the date of injury to file your claim so it is important to contact a legal professional right away.
How Can I Prove Pain and Suffering?
Proving pain and suffering is no simple task. Because a victim may suffer both physically and mentally, the proof may be both objective and subjective. This can lead to complications, as the amount of damages the plaintiff is awarded is dependent upon the judge and/or jury’s belief that there is true pain and suffering. While it is not required, evidence from an expert medical witness, such as a doctor, is a highly credible way to provide proof of pain and suffering. This expert witness would also be able to explain any medications, therapy, or surgeries that were needed to treat the pain, or that may be needed in the future.
Aside from expert witness testimonials, family, friends, nurses, and others who can attest to the victim’s pain and suffering, are also useful in helping to establish proof. These witnesses can provide testimony to show changes in the plaintiff’s day-to-day life, whether those be mental or physical. It is helpful to use demonstrative evidence in these testimonials. Radiographs, videos, pictures, and other demonstrations are effective methods of establishing more concrete proof of pain and suffering. When proving pain and suffering, the more evidence you have, the better.
What is Pain and Suffering Damages?
Under Pennsylvania law, the plaintiff does not ask for a specific amount of money in damages for their pain and suffering. This is because noneconomic (or general) damages are difficult to quantify, as they are not tracked by receipts and records. They are intangible losses, and the natural result of a wrongful act. There are several factors that are considered when determining the amount of noneconomic damages to be awarded in personal injury cases. Some of these include:
- Victim’s age
- Physical injuries
- Whether the injuries are temporary or permanent
- Whether the injuries affected the victim’s ability to perform basic activities of daily living
- Medical treatment
- Physical pain and mental anguish
- Health and physical condition prior to the accident
- The severity of any disfigurement
In a successful case, the victim will be awarded damages for past and future pain and suffering. However, since there is no standardized way to calculate them, the amount of damages varies greatly from case to case.
Don’t Suffer Alone
It’s time to get compensated for your pain and suffering. At Ross Feller Casey, we thoroughly review every detail of your case in order to provide you with the most exceptional representation possible. The firm has an unmatched record of victories in personal injury cases in Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania. If you are suffering from lingering pain, or mental distress, contact us for your free consultation today.