Proving economic damages after an accident, such as medical bills and lost wages, is fairly simple as you have bills and documents from your employer to demonstrate your losses. However, non-economic damages like pain and suffering are much harder to prove.
In order to prove that you have suffered pain and need compensation, your attorney should present a number of different documents. Learn more about the methods used to prove pain and suffering after an accident.
What Is Pain and Suffering?
Physical pain can be described in many different ways, including annoying, nagging, sharp, burning, or throbbing. Often, doctors ask patients for a pain level based on a pain scale from 0 to 10, with 10 being the worst.
Pain can also be emotional or mental, leading to feelings of fear, anger, depression, and anxiety. You may no longer be able to do things you enjoyed, or your relationship with your spouse may have changed due to your injuries. Suffering would indicate the lower quality of life you are experiencing as a result of your injuries.
Include Pain and Suffering in Your Initial Claim
Every state has a statute of limitations regarding how long you have to file a lawsuit. This may range from one to five years, depending on the state where you live. The first step is to follow a claim with the insurance company and provide documentation regarding your damages.
Of course, you will include documentation for your economic damages as well as police reports or income documentation. You can also include statements about the pain you are in or the activities you are no longer able to do because of your injuries on the initial claim as a way to document pain and suffering.
Detail Your Activities
One of the best ways to demonstrate how your quality of life has deteriorated since your injury is to document as much as possible the activities you engaged in before the accident. You will want to make a list of the following:
• Emotional response to regular activities
• Employment, including specific job duties
• Home life activities, such as chores
• Leisure activities
• Relaxation techniques you used to rely on
Describe whether you still try to do these things and note any pain you feel while doing them. If you avoid them completely due to the pain, you will want to note that as well. Be sure to include if any personal relationships have been negatively impacted by the injuries.
Describe Any Restrictions
If you have returned to work, you will want to describe any restrictions that you require at your place of employment. If you cannot work regular hours, but have been required to cut back due to the injury, be sure to include that information.
Before the accident, if you worked overtime on a regular basis but now cannot, that could qualify you for pain and suffering. If your injury has resulted in a demotion or you were passed over for a promotion because of the accident, this may constitute pain and suffering.
The accident may also have affected you emotionally. You will need to document any fear, anxiety, depression or other emotional distress. Insomnia, emotional or angry outbursts and the avoidance of activities you used to love may indicate emotional pain. Your doctor may have prescribed medication to help with your mental state which would be evidence of pain and suffering.
If you have been involved in an accident and believe you qualify for pain and suffering, it is critical that you hire an attorney. Settling with insurance directly can result in you settling for less than you’ll need to cover the full value of your damages.