Pain is a physical response to injury or illness, and suffering is the mental anguish an accident victim and their whole family may experience due to the injury.
Following an accident, the impact on daily life is significant and complex. There is an underlying sense of uncertainty about the future that often leads to physiological and behavioral changes in a family dynamic. Being involved in an accident is an overwhelming experience. A personal injury lawyer understands how to translate the reality of pain and suffering into a compelling and coercive case for maximum financial compensation.
Changing Perceived Intensity Into Reality
Pain is not always visible—but it doesn’t mean it isn’t real. The National Institutes of Health links chronic pain to:
- Limited mobility issues
- Drug dependency
- Diminished quality of life
Accident victims left with chronic pain are three times more likely to experience symptoms of depression or anxiety, and between 10 percent and 20 percent of accident victims with a traumatic brain injury will develop a substance abuse problem. Linking chronic pain to a personal injury-causing accident is a daunting task— a task best left to an experienced personal injury attorney.
Experts and Witnesses Both Help Prove Pain And Suffering
A personal injury attorney can use a two-tiered approach when convincing an insurance claims adjuster (or a judge and jury) how the depth of the injury runs deep and interferes with all aspects of daily life.
Those folks without daily pain often have a difficult time picturing the subtle ways it can affect daily life and job performance. By using expert medical testimony and statements from neighbors, friends, and co-workers, the decision-makers are better able to fully understand the changes in family and social life resulting from a personal injury.
This shows observed differences before and after the incident. Those who see firsthand are valuable and credible witnesses for behavior such as a noticeably decreased interest in known hobbies, interests, and activities.
A medical expert can illustrate how pain and suffering affect sleep, cardiovascular health, cognitive processes, and sexual function. A behavioral health practitioner can illustrate how pain and suffering impact mood and mental health. The many health problems and complications related to chronic pain can also incur significant economic consequences for patients— a significant loss of income and the possible cost of seeking and training for an alternative profession.
Timing is Critical, and Everything Is Important
Academic and medical studies tell us there often seems to be an altered perception of time in the moments preceding and the time following an accident. For some, time may seem to stop altogether, some victims may experience the action in slow motion, and others have reported clarity and calmness before the chaos.
An experienced personal injury lawyer knows time is important: timely medical evaluation and treatment, seeking legal counsel as soon as possible, and taking the time to document every detail. When all is said and done, lawyers base personal injury claims on facts. Each documented accident-related expense can help build a strong case for maximum compensation.
Keep a journal
A journal (updated daily if possible) can go a long way in illustrating and validating the realities of living with pain and suffering. Take the time to be as detailed as possible. Use descriptive words in the journal entries. This will help those who read it, or hear it, form a mental image of your new reality—and visual memories are powerful.
Items to include in a daily journal may consist of:
- Daily pain levels
- The side effects of medications and treatments
- The need for assistance with personal hygiene and household tasks
- Any specific functions missed due to the accident
- Emotional feelings, like sadness, depression, or fear
- Any concerns you may have about your recovery
- A description of the life you have now as compared to your life before the injury
Save all receipts for out of pocket expenses
Victims usually incur more than a few incident-related expenses while waiting for financial compensation.
In addition to the cost of direct medical treatment and hospital bills, you may recover compensation for:
- Prescription and over-the-counter medications
- The costs of any required medical equipment
- Towing fees
- Lodging costs if medical care requires out-of-town travel
- Rental car costs and parking fees
- The money spent on rideshare services or bus and taxi fares
- The cost of childcare
- The cost of household help
Photos and Videos
Visuals are often stronger than words when describing pain, suffering, and the altered reality of a life an accident changed. Photos and videos of the accident scene, the damaged property, and the physical injuries can add a measure of personalization to a claim for compensation.
There Is No Substitution for Quality Legal Counsel
A personal injury lawyer can present a request for compensation based on facts and evidence found in:
- A victim’s impact statement, statements from family, friends, and co-workers
- Medical records
- Hospital reports and nursing staff notes
- Physical and occupational therapy records
- Pharmacy records
- Expert testimony from physicians
Don’t leave anything on the table— make sure to consider the full extent of your pain and suffering. An experienced attorney can help ensure your case is as robust as possible so don’t wait to procure the services of legal counsel.