‘Pain and suffering’ is a phrase that has become a part of the public lexicon because it is a common reason for a victim of negligence to receive financial compensation. But you may still wonder: What qualifies as
pain and suffering in the legal sense?
Each case is different and each victim of negligence may endure health outcomes that qualify as pain and suffering. According to legal precedent introduced by Hiscott v. Peters, pain and suffering generally covers emotional distress or mental anguish that often accompanies or is the direct result of physical pain, especially if the pain is chronic.
If you are experiencing symptoms that you believe may qualify as pain and suffering (and if those symptoms were brought on by somebody else’s actions or failed responsibility to keep you safe), then you may be able to collect compensation through legal avenues.
Negligence Can Inflict Pain and Suffering
Every day, the Illinois court system is populated by victims of negligence. These victims have been affected by drastically different circumstances, but many of them have experienced:
- Physical injury
- Emotional distress
- Psychological trauma
- Difficult life circumstances caused by negligence
Most physical injuries have a tangible cost, which generally comes in the form of medical expenses. Lost income can also be calculated fairly easily. What is more difficult to quantify is the toll that emotional distress and psychological trauma can take on a victim of negligence.
The term ‘pain and suffering’ is often used when a jury, judge, or attorneys try to quantify the psychological and emotional toll of negligence. Pain and suffering may be especially great in certain types of negligence cases, including:
- Motor vehicle collisions
- Assaults and batteries
- Workplace accidents
Any accidental or intentional act involving negligence can inflict pain and suffering, and you should consider how your injury and its causal circumstances have impacted you emotionally and psychologically.
Various Forms of Pain and Suffering
You may experience numerous emotional or psychological problems relating to an incident in which negligence caused you harm. Coping with a traumatic event can be difficult, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that our biology often uses a number of undesirable tactics to cope with such trauma.
Some of these tactics may include or lead directly to:
- Chronic anxiety, even in seemingly low-stress situations
- Feelings of guilt, whether rational or not
- Phantom pain
Experiencing these states regularly is extremely unhealthy, and can lead to secondary problems, such as:
- Substance abuse
- Social withdrawal and isolation
- Cardiovascular illness
- Suicidal thoughts
Someone who suffers a trauma that causes them pain and suffering may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition which is taken very seriously. It is important that you receive all the help you possibly can if you are experiencing negative mental health consequences as a result of your accident.
A court may determine that the person responsible for your accident is also responsible for helping you pay for care for your pain and suffering. Call a lawyer to find out more about this possibility.
Take the First Step Toward Easing Your Suffering
There is no overstating it: Chronic psychological or emotional deficits are
(for many) the epitome of what qualifies as pain and suffering. It is important that you seek counsel, medical attention, or both to treat your symptoms, and to do so as soon as possible.
The next step you should take is to call a lawyer. One or more parties may be responsible for helping you pay for your treatment, or may be responsible for paying for all of the negative health outcomes caused by negligence.
A Lawyer Will Help You Determine Who Is at Fault
In order to begin proceedings in pursuit of compensation for your emotional and psychological care, you must determine who caused your condition. Generally, it is the person or people responsible for the accident in which you sustained injury.
Your lawyer may brainstorm with you to determine who could be named as defendants in your case. After this, you can expect your lawyer to:
- Enter your case into the appropriate court
- Alert the defendant to the impending legal action
- Explore settlement options
- Collect and organize evidence relevant to your case
- If a settlement is not available or suitable, your lawyer will argue your case at trial
- Defend your rights throughout their time as your lawyer
Their goal will be to obtain compensation on your behalf. Such compensation could cover various forms of relief for your mental and psychological injuries, possibly including:
- Psychological therapy
- Medications that help ease your symptoms
- A therapy animal
In addition, you could receive compensation for other losses stemming from the defendant’s negligence, such as lost income and medical expenses.
Call The Kryder Law Group, LLC Today
Our team has great empathy for you if you are struggling with your emotional or psychological health, and we want to help you obtain any financial relief to which you are entitled. Call The Kryder Law Group, LLC today at (312) 223-1700 for a free consultation.