What is “Pain & Suffering” After a Spinal Cord Injury?

What is “Pain & Suffering” After a Spinal Cord Injury?

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Living with a spinal cord injury can be expensive, which is why pain and suffering compensation should always be included in a personal injury lawsuit. Despite most people being familiar with the term pain and suffering, many cannot explain what it means pertaining to law. This is why, after a spinal cord injury, it is important to educate yourself on what pain and suffering is under the law and how you can use it to your advantage.

When filing a personal injury lawsuit, it is paramount that you are awarded every dollar you deserve, which is why the pain and suffering clause is so important to a spinal cord injury lawsuit. Although it can be incredibly difficult calculating the exact dollar amount related to the pain and suffering of your injury, this does not mean it is impossible.

It is important to remember that there is no exact method for determining the exact dollar amount for someone’s pain and suffering. This calculation is typically determined by a lawyer, a judge, or the person who is injured. When determining an amount for someone’s pain and suffering, there are a few things to consider.

The Definition of ‘Pain and Suffering’

In a court of law, pain and suffering is an umbrella term that covers a wide range of physical and emotional side effects that can occur after a spinal cord injury. Some of these effects include pain, mental disorders developed after the injury, loss of mobility and sensation (ie ‘function’), inconvenience and grief, or emotional distress. Because many of these effects are on the broader side, it is difficult to determine a specific dollar amount for pain and suffering, especially for emotional side effects like ‘grief.’

However, experienced and confident lawyers are your best bet to determine the right dollar amount for pain and suffering. For spinal cord injury cases, the dollar amount determined for pain and suffering is typically higher than other personal injury cases due to the severe and ongoing nature of most spinal cord injuries.

Tips on Calculating Final ‘Pain & Suffering’ Costs

There are two methods used to calculate one’s exact pain and suffering costs. The most common method is the direct losses multiplier method. To determine pain and suffering using this method, you first need to add up all of the economic costs associated with your injury—medical bills, lost wages, home modification costs, anything else you can think of—and then multiply that value up to four times the amount of the original number.

The second method to calculate pain and suffering is the ‘per diem’ method. A judge or jury will assign a specific dollar amount to your suffering on a day-to-day basis, and that value will be paid to you each day until your “maximum recovery” for your spinal cord injury. The problem with this method is that most people do not fully recover from their spinal cord injury, so it can be impossible to calculate the exact number of days you will suffer. This method is often not ideal for many because you must wait until you reach maximum recovery to sue for this amount, and waiting to file a claim can lead to surpassing your state’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims. If you wait long enough and surpass your state’s statute of limitations, you cannot file a lawsuit for your injury.

Proving You Deserve Pain and Suffering Compensation

Once a dollar amount has been assigned to your pain and suffering damages, the next step is proving in court that you deserve the amount. This is not an easy feat, but many people with spinal cord injuries have been awarded substantial pain and suffering compensation in court. A successful legal team can argue that you deserve the pain and suffering damages by providing all medical bills and records related to your injury, as well as mental health records, psychiatric evaluations, and testimony from friends, family and coworkers about how your life has changed since the injury.

Many people do not understand the extent of spinal cord injury unless they have lived it themselves. Because of this, it is important that you provide as much evidence as you can in court so that the judge and or jury fully understands the difficulties of living with a spinal cord injury. Please contact us with any further questions regarding your particular injury and options regarding pain and suffering compensation.


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Spinal Cord Injury
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