Pain and suffering is the legal term for the host of injuries that a person may suffer as a result of an accident. It includes not only physical pain, but emotional and mental injuries as well.
Compensation for pain and suffering can only be obtained through a personal injury claim or lawsuit and is often difficult to determine the amount that a victim may be owed.
In Arizona, if your pain and suffering is due to another’s negligence, you will be able to recover partial damages even if you were mostly at fault. This is because Arizona uses the pure comparative fault rule. This rule allows a limited recovery, even if the injured party is 99% at fault for his or her own injuries. For example, if another party is 10% responsible for your injuries and you are 90% responsible for your injuries, you can collect 10% of your damages.
Types of Pain and Suffering
As stated above there are two types of pain and suffering – physical and emotional. As it suggests, physical pain and suffering refers to the pain caused by your physical injuries. This includes the physical discomfort and limitations that have been experience and will likely be experienced in the future.
Emotional pain and suffering is how the injury has impacted you mentally or emotionally. This may include any of the following:
- Emotional distress
- Loss of energy
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Inability to participate in activities, either temporarily or permanently
- Mental anguish
- Mood swings
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Sexual dysfunction
It is important to note that both physical and mental pain and suffering includes not only the effects that the victim has endured to date, but also the pain that the victim will more than likely suffer in the future.
Calculating Pain and Suffering
Under Arizona law, an essential element of a claim is damages. This means that you must have suffered actual harm or injury and offer proof of such. When it comes to personal injury cases, you are entitled to compensation for all of your injuries – past, present, and future.
Among your compensable damages are all economic damages such as medical expenses, lost earnings, and missed school. There are also non-economic damages, specifically pain and suffering.
Pain and suffering is difficult to calculate, as it is not directly tied to specific expenses such as medical bills. Currently, there is no set formula used to calculate the amount of compensation that a victim may be owed for pain and suffering.
Instead, there are several factors that may be considered to calculate an appropriate amount of compensation for a victim’s pain and suffering.
These factors include:
- How the injuries have interfered with/effected the victim’s life;
- Cost of medical bills;
- Any limitations that the injuries imposed or will impose on the victim’s life;
- Any medical treatment received by the victim;
- Current or future required medical procedures and prescriptions;
- The nature of the victim’s injuries;
- Whether the injuries prevent the victim from returning to work;
- The shock and nature of the accident;
- Mental anguish caused by the accident; and
- How the injuries affected the victim’s relationship with family members.
When each of these factors as well as any other applicable factors are considered, the injury and pain and suffering it has caused will form a picture of how you were affected. This will then determine any pain and suffering compensation you may be entitled to.
Each personal injury case and claim for pain and suffering is different and is therefore determined on a case-by-case basis. Without analyzing the details of your case and your injuries, it is impossible to determine pain and suffering compensation.
What is Needed to Establish a Claim
As with any other claim, in order to obtain the deserved compensation for pain and suffering you will need evidence showing how the injury has affected your life. Such evidence can include:
- Photos of the injuries, including those showing progression;
- Medical records and testimony from healthcare providers;
- Employment records showing lost time from work;
- Testimony from family, friends, coworkers, or neighbors.
Contact Us Today
If you or a loved one were injured and you believe that there is a valid claim for pain and suffering, contact the Yearin Law Office today. Our experienced team will work with you to determine the validity of your claim and what is needed to get the deserved compensation. Call (480) 502-0708 today for a free consultation!