What You Need to Know About a Pain & Suffering Claim
A personal injury can cause physical and emotional pain that can last a lifetime. A personal injury lawsuit generally compensates the victim for their expenses such as medical bills, lost wages, and other related costs.
However, what happens when the injury has caused emotional and psychological anguish that cannot be represented by a mere monetary value? This is where “pain and suffering” come in, which is a legal term for a range of emotional and physical injuries that are not strictly financial.
Our knowledgeable and results-driven personal injury attorneys at Denning Law Firm, LLC can help you determine whether you are eligible to recover pain and suffering damages and assist you throughout the process of obtaining fair compensation. We serve injured victims in Kansas City in both Kansas and Missouri.
Noneconomic Damages in a Personal Injury Claim
When you file a personal injury claim, there are two types of damages that you can recover: economic and noneconomic.
Economic damages are the financial costs that you have incurred as a result of the injury, including lost wages, medical expenses, and property damage.
Noneconomic damages refer to the emotional and physical pain and suffering caused by the injury. These damages have no tangible proof and are often valued subjectively.
To recover economic damages, you need to prove that you have incurred a specific amount of financial loss. For example, if you missed work because of the injury, you need to provide proof of your work history, salary, and the number of days you were off due to the injury. Meanwhile, noneconomic damages do not have a fixed value and are generally evaluated according to the severity of the injury or its impact on the victim’s life.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering are specific examples of noneconomic damages that seek compensation for the physical and emotional distress caused by the accident. It includes the anguish resulting from the injury, such as PTSD, depression, anxiety, fear, and insomnia, as well as the pain caused by the injury, such as physical discomfort and limitations.
Some of the most common examples of pain and suffering damages are:
emotional distress that could be caused by psychological trauma such as anxiety, depression, or fear
physical pain generally refers to the physical discomfort associated with the injury, including aches or sharp pain
loss of enjoyment of life, which occurs when the victim is unable to enjoy the activities that they once enjoyed doing
disfigurement or scarring occurs when the victim has suffered injuries that cause severe disfigurement, scarring, or disability
reduced quality of life when the victim’s quality of life has been affected, such as an individual who was an athlete prior to the injury and can no longer pursue their passion
Keep in mind that pain and suffering claims are often complex, and the payout amount varies on a case-by-case basis. That is why you might want to consult with an attorney to determine your best course of action when filing for a pain and suffering claim.
Pain and Suffering Damages in Missouri & Kansas
Missouri and Kansas have different laws regarding the statute of limitations and caps on noneconomic damages.
Missouri sets a cap on noneconomic damages, including pain and suffering, only in medical malpractice cases. Injured victims of motor vehicle accidents and other types of accidents and incidents not related to medical malpractice are not limited in the amount of noneconomic damages they can be awarded.
Kansas, on the other hand, had a cap on noneconomic damages, but the cap was ruled to be “unconstitutional” in a 2019 decision by the Kansas Supreme Court. In its ruling, the Supreme Court stated that the cap violated the constitutional rights of injured victims.
As for the time limit to recover compensation (also known as the statute of limitations), injured victims in Kansas have only two years to file a personal injury lawsuit. Missouri sets a more generous period of five years.
Pain and Suffering Is Difficult to Prove
While physical injuries can be seen, pain and suffering damages cannot, making it challenging to prove in court. Insurance companies do not compensate for pain and suffering damages easily, which is why it is essential to have evidence to support your claim. Some of the evidence that could help you prove your pain and suffering claim include:
Medical bills and documentation. Medical bills and documentation from the physician’s treatment can indicate the severity of the injury, the extent of the suffering, and how long it will continue. They can also help show the trauma experienced by the victim.
Expert testimony. To support your claims in court, you may need to call upon a medical expert witness to testify to your injuries’ extent and the effect they have had on your life. These experts can show how your condition will continue to affect you in the future.
Personal journal entries. A personal journal can be a valuable tool in proving your pain and suffering. Journal entries should include how you felt after the injury, the severity and frequency of your physical pain, the emotional distress you experience, and how your pain and suffering limit your daily activities.
Witness testimony. It is essential to obtain statements from people who can validate your pain and suffering. These people could be friends, family members, or colleagues who have seen the effects of the injury on you, witnessed your emotional turmoil, or been exposed to your pain.
Photographs and videos. Photographs and videos can show the extent of the physical aspect of your injury, such as the bruises, lacerations, or scars you have sustained. They can also show your struggles with your changed life, such as your inability to take care of your children with ease or your limitations in pursuing your hobbies.
An attorney can provide you with the necessary guidance for proving pain and suffering damages. An attorney has an in-depth understanding of the legal process and how to navigate it effectively. They can assist you in developing and presenting the evidence necessary to support your claim. Your attorney will also negotiate with insurance companies to secure a fair settlement to compensate you for your pain and suffering damages.
Discover Your Options for Fair Compensation
Pain and suffering can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life, which is why it is vital to prove it to obtain maximum compensation. An experienced attorney can help you build a solid case and navigate the legal process to help you get fair compensation for your pain and suffering damages. Our attorneys at Denning Law Firm, LLC are ready to assist you with your claim. Get a no-cost case review today.