Compensation won during personal injury cases consists of medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Judges have to gauge the amount of pain and suffering you experienced from the initial incident and resulting recovery period to determine a proper award total. Four factors come into play during the pain and suffering assessment process: medications, recovery time, treatments, and disability levels. By using these factors, judges can take an objective approach to calculating the final compensation award amount. Read on to learn more information.
Total Time Spent In The Hospital
When treating serious injuries, hospital staff may choose to admit seriously injured patients for an extended stay. Admitted patients stay in the hospital for about five days on average. To gauge the severity of your injuries, the judge will look at the length of your hospital stay and compare it to the average.
If your stay was longer than that five day average, your pain and suffering compensation amount will increase from the baseline to reflect that. Since less than 10% of accident victims stay in the hospital, rather than just receive treatment in the emergency room, an extended visit definitely reflects an increased amount of pain and suffering.
Medications Requirements During Recovery
During recovery, patients often need to take medication for pain, nerve damage, nausea or even anxiety. The judge presiding over your case will take a look at the medications prescribed to you throughout the recovery period, starting with the initial treatment substances placed in your hospital IV, if applicable.
The type, dosages and duration of prescribed medications definitely reflect the amount of pain and suffering endured after your accident. For example, you may take nerve pain blockers while dealing with burning, itching, or shooting pains from damaged nerve endings. In addition, you may have needed strong pain medications while healing from the initial injuries and while going through recovery treatments. The judge will follow your journey to recovery by looking at this prescription trail.
Treatments Performed At Physical Therapy
Physical therapy treatments range from simple stretches and strength building exercises to ultrasound therapy and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. All of these treatments focus on helping you regain your range of motion, mobility, and strength while reducing pain.
Although the treatments help lead you to recovery, going through the motions adds to the amount of pain and suffering experienced due to the accident. In fact, breakthroughs at physical therapy can even lead to setbacks that require an increase in required medication dosages. By looking at your treatment process alongside the other factors, the judge can see a clear picture of your trials.
Level of Lasting Disability
Although doctors and physical therapists work their hardest to help patients fully recovery from their injuries, it is not always possible to prevent partial or full permanent disability. If a lasting disability exists, it will drastically increase the total amount of compensation awarded for pain and suffering.
Furthermore, it will likely come with an additional payment that covers future medical expenses. The judge will use the total amount of impairment as assessed by your doctor to determine your disability rating. The impairment may refer to reduced mobility, chronic pain, or dietary difficulties caused by the accident.
Fighting For Compensation
Your lawyer must present documents and witness statements to the court that detail the above factors. The judge can only weigh the information your lawyer provides during the decision making process. Make sure to help your lawyer fight for compensation by collecting and providing medical records, prescription receipts and disability documents. Once the judge starts the deliberation process, you cannot add more proof of your pain and suffering, so make sure you have all documents submitted before that point.
For more information, talk to an experienced lawyer from a law firm like Hardee and Hardee LLP.