Pain and Suffering Awards and Related Factors
In personal injury cases there are a variety of damages that can be awarded to the plaintiff. Such damages vary widely even where there are similar injuries. The two main reasons are:
- Damages for pain and suffering can be very personal in nature
- Juries view damages for pain and suffering more subjectively and objectively.
This article will discuss the factors that affect your pain and suffering claim and its valuation either by an insurance adjuster, a defense attorney or a jury.
Because pain and suffering is based on the plaintiff’s description of what they are feeling, it is important to be able to convince the insurance adjuster, the defense attorney and the jury that you really were hurt. Therefore, the plaintiff’s ability to present a winning claim in respect of pain and suffering often depends on the following factors:
Consistency – insurance adjusters, defense attorneys and juries put a high value on consistency. Therefore, it is necessary for the plaintiff to be consistent in his or her statements about how the accident happened and also about your complaints of pain. If the plaintiff has inconsistencies in respect of the complaints of pain this can be a sign that the injured person is making something up. Consistency need not only be present when it comes to providing witness testimony but also when dealing with doctors, physical therapists and medical specialists. A plaintiff has to be consistent in respect of their pain or it will be hard for anyone to believe that they have legitimate pain.
Credibility – it must be noted that consistency is a sign of credibility. Because modern technology in respect of the medical field has not yet developed any real tests that objectively determine if someone is experiencing pain; doctors and juries rely on the patient’s word.
If a jury does not think that plaintiff is credible the jury is not going to believe the plaintiff’s testimony about how the injury occurred and certainly not their testimony about pain and suffering. Factors that affect the juries thinking about a plaintiff’s credibility include the following:
- whether the plaintiff’s statements and testimony are consistent
- whether the jury thinks that the plaintiff lied
- if the plaintiff has a criminal record
Likeability – being likeable is very personal and if an individual does not like someone, chances are they are not going to do that person any favors. The same is true when it comes to jurors, if the jurors do not like someone who is sitting before them asking for money they are not going to give that person much or any money. While it is not the law it is human nature, therefore, if a plaintiff is likeable and is a good witness he or she is going to do a lot better at trial than an unpleasant person. To show the importance of this a good lawyer who has a client that is abrupt, harsh and generally not too likeable will spend time working with the client preparing him for deposition and trial.
For pain and suffering legal representation find a personal injury attorney Northridge.