The Difficulty in Calculating Pain and Suffering in Personal Injury Cases
In personal injury cases, parties often prefer to settle out of court due to the unpredictable result a jury trial may provide. As Northwest Florida's personal injury law firm, we know the importance of carefully reviewing the facts of the case to determine whether to settle out of court or to pursue a trial. Our goal is to make sure that our clients receive the most favorable outcome.
Personal injury cases are typically civil cases and are governed by the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure. When a personal injury case goes to trial, there are many factors that determine how a victim will be compensated. Typically victims are entitled to compensatory damages, an award of money intended to compensate the victim for the loss or injury that has occurred.
Usually the jury will attempt to put a dollar amount on what it will take to make the victim "whole" again and to reimburse the victim for all of the consequences pending from the accident or injury. Certain compensatory damages are easy to calculate, such as medical expenses, loss of income and loss of property. However, how do you put a monetary amount on pain and suffering?
What is Pain and Suffering?
The expression "pain and suffering" is a legal term used to describe the physical and mental distress that a victim experiences in the aftermath of an injury. Pain and suffering can manifest both physically and emotionally. Physical pain and suffering includes the pain and discomfort the victim experiences in the wake of an injury as well as any pain and discomfort the victim will experience in the future. On the other hand, mental suffering is any kind of negative emotion that a victim experiences in the aftermath of an injury.
Some examples of mental suffering are:
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages
The law provides no guidelines on how to calculate pain and suffering damages. The judge usually instructs the jury to calculate these damages based on what they feel are fair and reasonable. This can be a good thing depending on the severity of your injuries and the specific facts of your case. Although jurors are instructed to arrive at a verdict based on the facts of the case and the pertinent law, it would be inaccurate to assume that those are the only factors juries consider before delivering a verdict. After all, the jury is made up of people, and it is human nature to be swayed by emotions. Thus, appealing to the jury's emotions is an integral part of any personal injury case that goes to trial.
Typically, cases involving injuries to a child or serious and permanent injuries to a victim have a higher probability of resulting in large monetary amounts for pain and suffering. However, as experienced personal injury attorneys, we know how to appeal to the jury's emotions by accurately telling the victim's story to make sure that the victim receives the pain and suffering award they deserve. If you or a loved one has been a victim in a personal injury case, please contact one of our personal injury attorneys today.