Calculating Pain and Suffering in Arizona
If you or somebody you love has been injured by the careless or negligent actions of another person, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. It can be confusing and overwhelming trying to figure out the different types of compensation that you may be entitled to recover. In Arizona, a plaintiff can recover damages for both physical and mental pain and suffering caused by their injuries. Let’s look at an example that may help clarify:
Susan is involved in a car accident on SR-101 in Scottsdale that results in several broken bones and a concussion. Susan requires a lengthy hospital stay and physical therapy after she leaves the hospital. It takes her a year to fully heal from the accident. During that year, she was in extreme discomfort and unable to participate in her favorite activities of hiking and running. As a result of not being able to be active, Susan becomes very depressed and withdrawn. She also begins to have anxiety and a fear of driving, which has left her homebound. All of Susan’s problems (physical pain, difficult recovery, depression, anxiety, and fear of driving) constitute “pain and suffering” which are directly related to her accident. Susan would be entitled to compensation for these problems. Both her physical and mental pain and suffering would need to be taken into account when determining an appropriate compensation award.
Keep in mind, when it comes to calculating pain and suffering, things can get complicated very quickly. There are numerous factors that are taken into account, such as the severity of injuries, whether the victim was at fault, any potential recovery complications, the effect the injury has had on the victim’s quality of life, and whether there is documentation available to support the mental pain and suffering.
The reality is that the insurance company will try to minimize how much they have to compensate you. This is why it is imperative that you have the assistance of an attorney to help with the negotiation process. If a fair settlement of your pain and suffering can’t be reached, then it may be a good idea to file a lawsuit and get your case heard by a jury.
It’s also important that you get expert advice from a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible following an accident. Prompt investigations and preservation of evidence may be critical to the success of your personal injury claim.
At Brown & Hobkirk, PLLC we have the experience and knowledge to properly calculate your pain and suffering, so you can get the compensation you deserve.
Tips Calculating Pain and Suffering
What is Pain and Suffering?
Basically, “pain and suffering” is a legal term that describes the physical and mental injuries suffered as a result of an accident, which entitles the victim to recover monetary compensation. Each personal injury case is different and therefore, pain and suffering damages are determined on a case-by-case basis. When most people think of pain and suffering, they think of:
- Physical pain and suffering which includes the physical pain and injuries associated with the accident (from the initial accident through to a final recovery).
- Economic damages that resulted from the physical injuries suffered in the accident. This can include medical expenses and lost wages. Typically, these economic damages are usually easily verifiable through bills, receipts, medical invoices, pay stubs and tax returns. It’s very important to seek out a lawyer that is knowledgeable and experienced in personal injury law. Why? Because an inexperienced lawyer may overlook the economic damages for mental pain and suffering when calculating a fair compensation award, since mental pain and suffering damages can be more difficult to prove.
- Mental pain and suffering can be defined as the emotional trauma that resulted from the accident. Most people don’t realize that they can also seek compensation for mental pain and suffering, which can manifest itself through numerous symptoms, including:
Unlike the loss of property or income, which have specific dollar amounts tied to them, damages for pain and suffering are unique to each plaintiff and must be individually assessed. A qualified personal injury attorney will know how to properly structure your case so that you receive compensation for your pain and suffering claims.
How Does Arizona Treat Pain and Suffering Claims?
In Arizona, the courts have shown to be sympathetic to a person who has suffered physical and/or mental pain and suffering as a result of an accident. The laws of Arizona seek to restore you, as closely as possible, to your original state as if your accident had never occurred. A monetary award won’t erase your pain, but it will help compensate you for the toll the accident has taken on your life.
Because of the personal nature of pain and suffering, there is no easily determined method of quantifying pain and suffering. Fortunately, the courts don’t demand a precise accounting of pain and suffering damages, but they do need to be backed up with substantial evidence. The courts will look to several factors when deciding on an appropriate compensation award, including:
- Type of injury suffered
- Severity of the injury
- Medical treatments required
- Medications prescribed as a result of the accident
- Length of recovery
- Permanence of the injury
- Nature of emotional damages
- Pre-existing conditions
When these factors are considered, the injury and the pain and suffering it has caused will form a clear picture of how you’ve been affected and will ultimately determine your pain and suffering compensation.
What Documentation is Needed to Support My Claim?
As we discussed above, it’s often easier to prove the economic damages from a physical injury, because of the availability of proof of medical bills and lost wages. It may be more difficult to prove mental pain and suffering, but an experienced attorney will be able to provide you with ways that you can help establish your mental pain and suffering. Your attorney will work with you and your treating medical team to obtain:
- Documentation to Support Physical Pain and Suffering
- Medical bills
- Prescription costs
- Pay stubs
- Tax returns
- Documentation to Support Mental Pain and Suffering
- Journal entries detailing your mental health
- Testimony from treating medical or mental health professionals regarding any diagnosis
- Mental health prescriptions (such as anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medications)
- Testimony from family and/or friends on how your personality, mental health, and quality of life has changed or suffered
Carefully documenting both your physical and mental anguish is vital in making you whole and receiving a fair compensation award. Determining pain and suffering, and putting a monetary value to it, is not an easy process, which is why it’s critical to work with a skilled personal injury attorney.
The personal injury lawyers and staff at Brown & Hobkirk, PLLC have the special knowledge and skill required to expertly handle injury cases. We have the experience and resources to take on the largest insurance companies and corporations in the interest of getting justice and fair financial compensation for our injured clients. Contact us today to schedule your free personal injury consultation at one of our conveniently located offices in Scottsdale, Phoenix, Chandler, or Tucson.