What is Pain and Suffering in a Pennsylvania Personal Injury Case?
Under Pennsylvania personal injury laws, you are entitled to receive compensation for your damages. Economic damages include, but are not limited to, property damage, lost wages, medical bills, funeral expenses, and medical supplies. Non-economic damages include loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, and pain and suffering.
Pain and suffering refers to the physical pain and emotional suffering you endure due to the injuries sustained in a personal injury case. Pain and suffering damages are awarded to accident victims for physical pain, mental anguish, stress, anxiety, discomfort, disfigurement, scarring, embarrassment, and permanent disability. Even though pain and suffering damages do not have a "bill" or "invoice" that provides a specific dollar amount, accident victims deserve and should be compensated for the suffering they endure because of another party's careless, reckless, or negligent actions.
Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages
Pennsylvania personal injury laws do not provide a standard formula for calculating compensation for pain and suffering damages. Because each injury is unique and each individual suffers in their own way, calculating pain and suffering can be a complex process. Some of the factors used when calculating pain and suffering include but are not limited to:
- The extent and severity of your injuries;
- The level of disruption in your daily activities due to the injuries;
- The emotional trauma suffered because of the injuries;
- The length of time it took to recover from the injuries;
- The degree of permanent impairment or disability;
- The inability to care for yourself or your dependents; and,
- The inability to enjoy the same activities you did prior to the injury (i.e. hobbies, recreational activities, etc.).
Why Should I Keep a Pain Journal After My Accident?
Placing a dollar figure on your pain and suffering is extremely difficult because this type of accident damage is subjective. It is impossible for a jury to understand your level of pain and suffering because they do not live with you day-to-day to see how the injuries have affected your life. Keeping and pain journal can assist your personal injury attorney in substantiating the level of pain and suffering you experienced because of your injuries.
Tracking how your injuries affect your daily activities and prevent you from enjoying the things you did prior to the accident can help a jury understand your level of pain and suffering. Examples of items you want to track in your pain journal include:
- Your pain level on a scale of 1 to 10
- The physical and emotional symptoms you suffer due to the injuries
- The duration of your symptoms
- Specific tasks you are unable to perform
- Activities you are unable to do because of the injuries.
- Medication side effects
- How often you must take your pain medication
- Episodes of depression or anxiety
- The days you were unable to get out of bed due to pain or depression
- How many days you miss of work because of your injuries
In addition to your journal, keep photographs of your physical injuries as you heal and copies of any documents that would substantiate the notes in your journal. Keeping a pain journal may help your case; however, remember the journal may not remain private because your attorney may need the journal as evidence.
Get Help from an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in Harrisburg
Are you suffering because of another person's negligence? If so, contact the experienced Harrisburg accident attorneys of Handler, Henning & Rosenberg LLP for a free consultation. Our injury lawyers have successfully demonstrated the extent of our clients' pain and suffering in order to obtain the maximum compensation allowable under the law. We will fight for justice on your behalf as you focus on recovering from injuries sustained in an accident.