Pain and suffering damages in Ohio injury cases are highly singular, meaning they are based on each individual’s experience. A Columbus personal injury lawyer can advocate for personalized damages in this category, reflecting your injuries, type of accident, and personal losses. In other words, there is no average settlement amount. Damages are determined on a case-by-case basis.
Your Pain and Suffering Compensation Is Based on Your Injuries
Consider a car accident case. In one scenario, a low-speed rear-end collision causes you to suffer whiplash. According to the Cleveland Clinic, you might be one of the 12 to 50 percent of sufferers who experience pain up to a year after the crash. Suffering from this pain—already a significant burden—also causes you to experience depression.
Now consider a T-bone crash that causes a traumatic brain injury and disfigurement. You can’t concentrate or multitask and have trouble with your coordination. You can’t sleep, you suffer chronic pain, and your disfigurement has significantly damaged your self-esteem. You have PTSD flashbacks and are afraid to get in your car.
Both scenarios undoubtedly deserve pain and suffering damages, but the details are very different. The specifics of the injuries and their aftermath make a difference in how pain and suffering compensation should be determined. That’s why a Columbus car accident lawyer will take stock of your unique condition before agreeing to pain and suffering damages.
Injury Factors that Affect Damages
When identifying compensation, an attorney will look at your injury’s:
For example, there can be a significant difference in experience for the same injury. With a traumatic brain injury, one person might experience more cognitive symptoms like difficulty remembering or performing certain tasks. Someone else might experience a change in mood and personality. Yet another victim might fall into a coma or develop seizures. Each person’s recovery period can also differ.
Put simply, the details matter. There is no “normal” amount of damages for a specific type of accident or a specific type of injury. There is only what is appropriate for you.
Pain and Suffering Damages Also Reflect Losses in Your Personal Life
Determining what you deserve for pain and suffering requires determining what you have lost. This doesn’t just mean financially, though that can help us identify what you should receive. These are called noneconomic damages for a reason—they refer to the losses that aren’t easily quantified with a bill or pay stub.
What Can You No Longer Do?
A lawyer will consider how your injuries affect your life going forward. They may inquire if you can:
- Engage in hobbies and activities
- Pick up or play with your children
- Interact with loved ones
- Take care of yourself
- Perform everyday tasks
- Act and move about independently
A lawyer can work to translate those losses into damages.
How Do Those Losses Relate to Your Injuries?
We also consider your personal losses in the context of your injuries. For instance, someone who suffers a permanent spinal cord injury will never be able to perform certain tasks ever again, whereas someone with a broken leg is likely to eventually regain some independence.
Who Decides What Pain and Suffering Compensation You Get in Columbus?
This can depend on which path your personal injury case takes—an insurance claim or a lawsuit.
If your personal injury case involves an insurance claim, an adjuster might use various methods to identify what they think you deserve. However, their determination is not the be-all, end-all. Many insurance companies initially offer a lower amount, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept it.
A lawyer can conduct their own investigation into your case and negotiate for pain and suffering damages. If it’s too soon to tell how your injuries will affect your life, we may hold off on accepting any offers until we fully understand your situation. For instance, if you suffered catastrophic injuries, you’ll need time to take stock before agreeing to anything.
If the person who injured you with their negligence didn’t have insurance, or you can’t reach an agreement for a settlement through their insurer, you may need to file a lawsuit. This can mean that the negligent party and their attorney try to determine what you should receive for pain and suffering.
Like with insurance claims, your damages are still negotiable at this stage. In fact, many personal injury lawsuits settle out of court because both parties like to have control over the outcome. A lawyer can present evidence of your injuries, experience, and losses to negotiate for appropriate damages.
If your case proceeds to trial, the jury will decide what you receive for pain and suffering. However, a personal injury attorney can prepare a court strategy that emphasizes what you deserve.
How Is Pain and Suffering Proven in a Columbus Personal Injury Case?
Although these are noneconomic damages—not tied to a specific expense or financial loss—a lawyer still needs to produce proof of why you deserve them. That can include:
- Medical records showing how you were hurt
- Doctor’s visits highlighting how often you needed care
- Treatment notes that explain your pain and prognosis
- Mental health diagnoses that emphasize the toll on your peace of mind
- Prescription medication illustrating pain or symptom management
- Testimony from friends, family, and coworkers about changes to your life
- Analysis and testimony from experts like psychologists or pain specialists
- Employment records showing you missed work because of your injuries
- Photos of your injuries and disfigurement that show the accident’s effects
- Your own testimony about how you feel and what you’ve lost
Rather than hanging your damages on one piece of evidence, a lawyer instead weaves together several threads, all working in concert, to present a nuanced picture of your situation. After all, nuance is what pain and suffering compensation is all about—recognizing your individual struggles.
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Contact The Fitch Law Firm LLC today for a free consultation about your accident case. Our lawyers can help you understand how pain and suffering could be determined in your Columbus personal injury case and then get to work identifying what you specifically need. We’re available 24/7 to answer your call and address your needs.
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