The concept of pain and suffering is easy for most people to grasp. One hears that an injured plaintiff is asking to be compensated for the pain and suffering caused to that plaintiff by a negligent medical professional and the concept becomes clear.
Experienced medical malpractice attorneys that which litigate medical negligence cases in the villages, towns, and cities surrounding the Hudson River know that understanding the concept of pain and suffering damages is entirely different than understanding how and why a jury may or may not award these damages in a specific case. Moreover, most people do not know why pain and suffering damages will vary from case to case, even if different cases have similar facts.
First and foremost, readers should know that there are two main categories of pain and suffering damages. First, there is pain and suffering that which relates to physical pain and suffering. Second, there is pain and suffering that is mental or psychological.
Even though these are different, they are also interrelated. For example, physical pain and suffering can lead to mental pain and suffering. Victims of medical malpractice often develop depression, anxiety, and even post traumatic stress disorder. And then these psychological manifestations can then lead to more physical ailments.
In either case, quantifying an injured patient’s pain and suffering is not an exact science. Actually, it is not a science at all. This is because they are non-economic damages. Compare this to economic damages, such as lost wages or medical bills where value can easily be calculated.
With that said, there are factors that which are known to influence the amount of money juries award to victims of medical negligence for pain and suffering.
Length of Pain and Suffering:
Quite simply, the longer one had to endure the pain and suffering caused by a negligent medical professional will influence how much compensation a jury awards for such. This will include future pain and suffering as well as past and present pain and suffering. Therefore, if the patient dies before the jury issues a verdict on damages, future pain and suffering will not be included and the entire award will be lower.
Plaintiff Personal Background and Personality:
This basically comes down to three things: likability, credibility, and personal history. The more likable the plaintiff is as a witness, the more likely the jury will empathize with his or her pain and suffering. If the plaintiff has credibility issues, such as being known to lie or has changed his or her “story” a few times, the less a jury is likely to award greater damages. Lastly, personal history such as criminal offending will impact a jury’s pain and suffering award.
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.