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What Is Pain And Suffering Really Worth?

“Pain and suffering” is one of those amorphous terms that often come up during personal injury cases. If you didn’t know any better, you’d probably think it’s just a reason for the jury to give someone thousands or even millions of dollars because whatever accident happened made the plaintiff sad. However, while the truth is more serious than a simple mope, it’s not exactly easy for juries to come up with a solid number, either.

Life Interrupted

Pain and grief are very subjective feelings, and if you put two different people through the same traumatic event, you’ll likely end up with two different results.

For instance, imagine that two factory workers are injured when an inexperienced forklift driver accidentally runs them over. Both workers are equally injured, but while the first person returns to her job once she finishes healing, the second develops post-traumatic stress and is unable to work at that factory or any other ever again – at least not before he gets a significant amount of therapy.

While the first worker can probably get through her injury with nothing more than worker’s compensation, the second may find he has to sue the forklift driver (and possibly factory if the supervisor knew the driver was inexperienced and didn’t do anything about it) in order to get the money he needs to pay for therapy and all the extra lost work. These added expenses are the result of “mental pain and suffering,” and they are why such things deserve a monetary compensation.

But How Does Suffering Become A Number?

That is the tricky part. Because pain and suffering are so subjective and so personal, there isn’t a price sheet anywhere for judges and juries to refer to in order to figure out how much a given personal injury is worth. Instead, attorneys will suggest a number and judges will typically ask a jury to use their best judgement as to how much to award. If the judge offers anything more, it’s that the rule of thumb is to award somewhere between 1-4 times the overall medical bill as pain and suffering damages.

However, suffering is, again, very subjective, and so how much the jury awards can depend significantly on the connection they form with the plaintiff. If the plaintiff seems to be in a lot of pain and is an emotional wreck, a sympathetic jury may award more than if the plaintiff acts perfectly fine. At the same time, if the plaintiff lies and has a bad attitude, or else seems to be exaggerating, the jury will often award less.

As such, while an unscrupulous lawyer might coach his or her client on how to realistically dissolve into tears while on the stand, even an honest lawyer would probably advise his or her client to avoid going for the stoic approach.

If you or a loved one has recently suffered from an accident or another personal injury, and if you live in southwest Florida, particularly around Fort Meyers and Port Charlotte, then you should contact All Injuries Law Firm today and get yourself a free case review. Whether you’ve seriously suffered or whether it’s more about seeing someone pay for his or her negligence, we will do all we can to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.