Understanding Pain and Suffering in Personal Injury Lawsuits
Pain and suffering is a term often thrown around in media when discussing personal injury lawsuits. But what are these damages really, and how do they affect a personal injury lawsuit?
Defining pain and suffering
Pain and suffering is a common type of “damage” seen in personal injury cases. Damages are the economic or emotional losses you’ve been dealt as a result of an injury, and damages is the umbrella term that lawyers and judges use to describe these losses.
Pain and suffering is defined in Florida law (§758.21) as something that can be applied both mentally and physically.
Physical pain and suffering is, like it sounds, the pain you feel as a result of a physical injury. It covers the physical distress you feel as a result of the injury, as well as any negative physical outcomes that you might reasonably expect down the road because of the injury.
Mental pain and suffering refers to things like mental anguish or emotional distress that occurs because of a catastrophic injury and/or incident. If the trauma of the incident is significant, mental pain and suffering can linger for a long period of time — sometimes for life through post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), in certain cases. Some of the symptoms of this include depression, anger, lack of energy, and mood swings, among other things. This is also calculated from the time of the injury to date, as well as future issues a plaintiff might deal with as a result.
Real-life Examples of (Alleged) Pain and Suffering
Recently, a Texas man filed a personal injury lawsuit against a Florida-based bus company, alleging that when the bus hit a large pothole it caused the man to hit the roof of the vehicle and slam to the ground, according to the report in the Southeast Texas Record.
The man, David Dupre, filed suit against Beaumont Transit Company and CCL Management Inc., based in Jacksonville, Florida, and operating in Jefferson County, Texas.
Dupre claims the municipal transit bus driver was negligent when he allegedly drove over a large pothole in 2013, claiming he now has “severe and permanent injuries” as a result, the report states. Dupre contends that the driver should have been more alert in his duties and slowed down or gone around the large pothole.
The man alleges that he received injuries to his head, chest, back, hip, and leg. In the suit, he is seeking damages for medical expenses, in addition to pain and suffering, mental anguish, and lost learning capacity, among other things, the report states.
Value of Pain and Suffering
It can be difficult to exactly forecast how much a plaintiff might receive as a result of a successful lawsuit seeking damages related to pain and suffering. Some of the factors that might affect that outcome, however, include whether the plaintiff is likeable, credible, a good witness, provides consistent testimony, has not lied, faced criminal charges in the past and more.
Our Attorneys Can Help
If you have suffered injuries in Florida and are interested in pursuing compensation, it is imperative that you reach out to an attorney immediately. The Fort Lauderdale attorneys at Boone & Davis are prepared to assist you with your claim today.