Is Pain and Suffering Separate from Medical Bills?

Pain and suffering is separate from medical bills when you are pursuing financial recovery for a slip and fall accident.

Pain and suffering is considered a general damage for a personal injury. General damages are not as tangible or as easily quantified as a special damage, such as a bill from a hospital or physician.

However, pain and suffering can affect your physical and psychological well-being. A personal injury lawyer can help valuate this type of damage and seek recovery from the liable party.

Examples of Pain and Suffering

The Legal Information Institute (LII) defines pain and suffering as “the physical or emotional distress resulting from an injury.” This broad definition makes pain and suffering more challenging to prove than other types of damages.

Pain and suffering after a slip and fall injury is different for everyone but might include:

  • Diminished quality of life
  • Chronic physical pain
  • Anger issues
  • Anxiety including panic attacks
  • Depression, self-harm, or suicidal thoughts
  • Insomnia, night terrors, or other sleep disturbances
  • Weight gain or loss from physical injury, prescription medicine, lack of mobility, or emotional duress
  • Emotional and/or physical pain from disability or disfigurement
  • Loss of consortium

Sometimes, damages for pain and suffering may be greater than those for physical injury. There are many variables in a slip and fall case for valuating these losses. You are advised to talk to a lawyer who is familiar with these kinds of cases.

How a Lawyer Proves Pain and Suffering

Insurance adjusters or the court will want to know the extent, severity, and expected duration of your pain and suffering. They will consider your age, lifestyle, and injuries. For example, a broken leg for a figure skater is likely to create more mental anguish than for someone else.

Proving pain and suffering may include:

  • Medical test results.
  • Testimony from healthcare providers about the extent of your injuries, how they impact your physical and emotional health, and a general prognosis.
  • Testimony from your family, friends, co-workers, and others who can speak to the changes they have witnessed in you since the injury.
  • Your own account of how you feel, physically and emotionally, since the slip and fall injury.

A slip and fall injury lawyer can establish that pain and suffering are valid damages for your injuries and that the liable party should be held financially accountable.

Factors That May Affect Pain and Suffering Damages

No two slip and fall accidents are alike and that can make valuating pain and suffering damages more complex.

In our experience, the factors that may affect your recoverable damages for pain and suffering include:

  • Disability (temporary or permanent)
  • Disfigurement that may cause you physical or emotional distress (such as scarring or burns)
  • Length of treatment, recovery, and rehabilitation from your injuries
  • Reduced earning capacity

Sometimes the value of pain and suffering is also affected by whether you contributed to the accident. Although many states will still allow you to recover damages even if you played a role in the accident, your financial recovery may be reduced.

The Multiplier Method for Valuating Damages

It is challenging to affix a value on pain and suffering. An insurance company or the court may use what is known as the “multiplier method”.

Pain and suffering is often valuated with a mathematical formula in which your special damages (medical bills, lost pay, etc.) are multiplied by a number, usually from 1.5 to 5.

Generally, a higher number is used if you are severely injured, or if your injuries resulted in permanent disability, disfigurement, or a lingering medical condition.

A figure skater with a broken leg, for example, may rate a higher multiplier number, because there may be long-term ramifications for his or her professional career.

Recoverable Damages for a Slip and Fall Injury

Falls are a leading factor in missed workdays, according to the National Fall Safety Institute (NSFI). A personal injury lawyer who handles slip and fall cases may pursue damages for your lost pay, as well as other losses, including:

  • Medical care and treatment
  • Property damage
  • Lifecare or domestic services
  • Counseling, therapy, and other follow-up treatment
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish

It is our experience that most people do not know their legal options after a slip and fall accident. You have only one opportunity to seek compensatory damages for medical bills, lost pay, pain and suffering, and other losses. You should not hesitate to consult with a lawyer about your rights and find out if you are entitled to financial recovery.

We Are Here to Help

Pain and suffering is separate from medical bills. However, a lawyer with D. Miller & Associates, PLLC™ will diligently pursue these damages on your behalf. For a free case evaluation, please call (713) 850-8600.