In the context of a injury claim, “pain & suffering” commonly refers to the compensation an injured person deserves for their pain, hurt, and discomfort that is brought on by a traumatic injury. Quite simply, pain & suffering represents a category of damages that is set aside to account for the non-economic damages an injured person has incurred. In this regard, as a description of non-economic damages, it is a very important element in the fair and full settlement of any injury claim.
I don’t like the term “pain & suffering”. While “pain & suffering” may reflect what an injured person feels, it fails to adequately account for the short and longer-term effects of an injury on a person’s life. For this reason, I never use the phase “pain & suffering” when presenting an injury claim to an insurance company.
Instead, I think of “pain & suffering” damages in terms of 3 separate areas of compensation: loss of health, loss of mobility, and loss of quality of life.
Loss of Health
Loss of health refers to the entire realm of daily interference that an injured person suffers in their life due to an injury. It relates to the confinement that an injured person encounters, the medical treatments and rehabilitation that an injured person must endure. An injury results in a significant change of life and in many cases an injured person’s ability to work or take care of family/personal responsibilities is significantly hindered. Their ability to get restful sleep is diminished and fatigue is common. There also is the reliance upon medication to get some relief. You can see how there is so much more to loss of health than an just the feeling of “pain & suffering”.
Loss of health saps a person’s energy to enjoy life. In my experience it is common for an injured person, who is used to being physically and mentally active, to be encountering distress, frustration, and depression that makes it difficult to get through the day. In my cases, I strive to account for each and every special way an injured person’s life is impacted by an injury during the period from the injury through the conclusion of medical treatment and rehabilitation.
Loss of Mobility & Loss of Quality of Life
Loss of health is only one part of what people traditionally refer to as “pain & suffering”. In my next blog, I want to go in depth in covering loss of mobility and freedom of movement. My final blog in this series will cover loss of quality of life.
In covering this topic, my objective is to better define what “pain & suffering” really is in order that injured persons can make better decisions when it comes to settlement.