“There is probably nothing more difficult to understand, than pain and suffering. You cannot measure it and everyone is different. My job is to put a number on pain and suffering, then prove that number is justified by the facts.“ Mike Burman
What is “Pain and Suffering”?
The law recognizes two types of pain and suffering:
- “physical,” and
“Physical pain and suffering” means the pain resulting from the actual physical injury.
“Mental pain and suffering” means the emotional impact on the mind and nervous system resulting from a physical injury, the injury event, and the emotional changes that occur in the injured person's life as a result of the physical injury.
Example of Pain and Suffering
A typical example of pain and suffering can be shown by a motor vehicle collision. A careful driver is suddenly rear-ended by a drunk driver and sustains multiple fractures. The resulting hospital stay exceeds the driver's Family Medical Leave time off work, and suddenly, through no fault of her own, the driver is unemployed and injured, so trying to find another job adds to the stress. The injured driver experiences depression, anger and lost self-esteem.
In this example, the fractured bones are evidence of trauma causing physical pain. The depression, anger, and loss of self-esteem constitute evidence of emotional harm that flows from the physical injury. Taken together, these physical and emotional changes represent just one example of pain and suffering. Every one is different, but all personal injury cases involve some degree of pain and suffering.
Factors in Calculating Pain and Suffering
The job of Burman Law is to put a dollar value on pain and suffering. Here are just a few of the many questions to answer when developing a pain and suffering claim:
- Does the client make a good or bad witness?
- Is the client likable?
- Is the client believable?
- Is the client's testimony regarding his or her injuries consistent?
- Is the client exaggerating his or her pain and suffering?
- Can the doctors explain why the client experiences pain and suffering?