Pain and suffering is a term that applies to the noneconomic aspect of a plaintiff’s damages claim in a personal injury case. It typically includes physical pain, as well as mental anguish, and other physical, mental, and emotional damages stemming from a personal injury.
If you are wondering what qualifies as pain and suffering, read on to learn more about the specifics of this term in Louisiana personal injury cases and how this aspect of damages may impact your claim.
Pain and Suffering Defined
If you suffered injuries in a personal injury accident, such as a motor vehicle accident, you may have the right to compensatory damages. This compensation is to recover all of the losses you suffered as a result of the wrongful conduct of another party. Compensatory damages typically include economic damages and noneconomic damages.
Economic damages can be more easily quantified, such as the amount of the medical expenses you incurred because of the accident, or the amount of the wages you lost while you were recovering.
Noneconomic damages are not as easy to assign a dollar amount. Pain and suffering is often in this category. According to the Pattern Jury Instructions from the United States Fifth Judicial Circuit, these damages may include the following:
- Pain and suffering, both past and future
- Mental anguish, both past and future
- Any disability or loss of function
- Any inconvenience or hardship
- Loss of enjoyment in life
- Fear of future economic security
For a free legal consultation, call (337) 777-7777
Calculating Pain and Suffering
According to the Pattern Jury Instructions, these damages are intangible, and the plaintiff does not have to provide any evidence of the value to them. Instead, the courts instruct juries to consider what amount will fairly compensate him or her for these damages. This compensation should be no more or no less than what is fair, and juries are not to award a higher amount of damages to punish a defendant as part of the compensatory damages award. However, the courts can impose punitive damages for this purpose.
The purpose of compensatory damages is to make the plaintiff whole again after suffering losses from an accident caused by another party’s negligence. The jury instructions further state that “there is no exact standard” for determining the value of this form of compensation, and any award must be “fair in the light of the evidence.”
How To Establish Pain and Suffering in a Louisiana Personal Injury Case
While you do not have to provide evidence of the value of your pain and suffering, you will need to be able to establish the following:
- The defendant’s wrongful conduct caused your damages.
- You actually suffered the damages or are likely to suffer them in the future.
Juries are not to award you damages that are speculative in nature. Therefore, it is important that you are able to establish these damages by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning that it is more likely than not that you suffered the damages.
The proof you present for your pain and suffering damages can be different in every case. Some forms of evidence that you may be able to present to establish your pain and suffering may include:
- Pictures that show the severity of your injuries
- Medical records that show you complained of pain or other effects after the accident
- Imaging results from x-rays, MRI scans—presented in depth here from Medline Plus—or other tests that show the presence of an injury likely to cause pain or discomfort
- Prescription medications for pain relief or other treatments for your injuries
- Records from a psychologist, psychiatrist, or counselor about your physical or mental injuries
- Testimony from coworkers, family members, friends, or neighbors about how the injuries have limited your ability to perform certain tasks or that you appear to be in pain
- Entries in your pain journal that describe the duration and severity of your pain and discomfort
Our lawyers can help gather documentation to substantiate your pain and suffering and other damages. We will fight for compensation on your behalf.
Get Help for Your Pain and Suffering Claim
If you still have questions about what qualifies as pain and suffering after reading the information above, do not hesitate to contact Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers at (337) 777-7777 for more information. Our team is ready to assist you with your personal injury claim and can explain how we may help provide evidence of your pain and suffering. We do not charge for an initial consultation and do not charge you any attorney fees unless we are successful in recovering compensation on your behalf. We have several offices throughout Lafayette, Alexandria, and the surrounding areas.