What Are Pain and Suffering Damages?

When you hear about a lawsuit, you often hear the term “pain and suffering damages.”  However, many people are unaware what, exactly, pain and suffering is in a legal sense. If you have been involved in an accident that left you injured, it is important to understand the term, according to Las Vegas injury lawyers.

Types of Pain and Suffering 

Pain may not simply be physical in nature after an injury. In fact, it is very common for someone to also suffer mental injuries as well. Physical injuries are what you often think of when you hear of someone hurt in an accident like broken bones, bruises, cuts or other visible injuries you may suffer, according to the best Las Vegas personal injury attorney. Concussions and paralysis are also considered physical injuries even though they may not be visible. Mental injuries are those that often cannot be seen. This could include mental anguish, emotional distress, humiliation, indignity, anxiety, shock, indignity and a loss of enjoyment for life. This can lead to depression, anger, loss of appetite, sexual dysfunction and other emotional issues. You could even develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Pain and Suffering Laws 

In order to receive pain and suffering damages, Las Vegas injury lawyers first establish that the person who injured you was at fault. Nevada has what is known as “modified comparative fault” laws. This means that your recovery is in proportion to your degree of fault. If you are partially at fault, your compensation will be reduced by your percent of fault.  If you are more than 50 percent at fault, you cannot recover pain and suffering or any other damages. If your pain and suffering was caused by medical malpractice, there is a $350,000 cap on the pain and suffering you can collect, but there is no cap on other types of injury cases, like slip and fall or car accidents.

Determining Pain and Suffering Damages 

There is no set formula for determining what you may receive for pain and suffering. There is a misconception that pain and suffering is simply a multiple of your medical bills.  For example, if you have a broken ankle and sustain $3,000 in medical bills and lost wages, some people believe you may multiply that amount by three and work for a settlement that includes an additional $9,000 for pain and suffering.

In a trial, jurors are instructed in personal injury cases to consider the nature, extent, and duration of injuries and damages when determining pain and suffering damages.  This jury instruction leads some attorneys to use a formula known as “per diem.” In this method, the attorney multiplies a certain amount by the number of days it takes you to fully recover. If the attorney uses a $100 per diem and you return to work fully healed 30 days after you were injured, he may work for a settlement with $3,000 in pain and suffering damages included.  This method may not be appropriate in all cases.

Ultimately, the best Las Vegas personal injury attorneys will evaluate your case on its own merits, compare it to prior jury verdicts and settlements, and be able to explain the value of pain and suffering in your injury case using the factors a jury would consider: the nature, extent, and duration of injuries.

Insurance Companies 

It is important to note that insurance companies are under no obligation to follow the same logic until the case is presented to a jury.  Insurance companies often use algorithms and computer programs to determine an amount for pain and suffering that take many different factors into account.  One of the most well-known programs is called Colossus. For example, if you are treated by only by a chiropractor for your injury without a medical doctor, the insurance company may determine your injury is less severe which means you had less pain and suffering. If you waited to seek treatment or if the doctor’s report does not indicate excessive treatment, the insurance company may determine a lower amount for pain and suffering. Physical injuries are often much easier to prove than mental injuries when it comes to pain and suffering damages as well.

The insurance company computers are not always right. In fact, the insurance companies’ goal is to pay you as little as possible.  Many arguments made by insurance adjusters are often ignored by juries.  It takes an experienced Las Vegas personal injury attorney to understand which insurance company arguments are legitimate and which arguments are not.

If you have been injured in an accident that was the fault of someone else, contact Las Vegas injury lawyers at The Schnitzel Firm today. You can reach us by phone at 702-960-4050 or arrange for an appointment through the easy form online.