The damages you will receive from a personal injury case can vary widely so you can’t really expect to receive what someone else with a similar case received in compensation. The reason why pain and suffering claims vary widely is because they are very personal in nature and juries view them less objectively than they do subjectively.
When filing a pain and suffering claim, you have to convince the jury, the defense attorney and the insurance adjuster that your injuries are as serious as you are claiming they are. Your claim should be:
- Backed up by a medical professional
- Backed up by an open and frank testimony from you
Inconsistencies in your stories can arouse suspicions that you are not seriously hurt. Your lawyer, insurance adjusters and the jury don’t like situations where plaintiffs give varying statements because it shows they are hiding or making up something.
For instance, let’s say you slipped and fell at the grocery store and you hurt your back. When the insurance adjuster asks you claim that you hurt your back when you fell but when you go to the doctor, you tell her that you have been experiencing severe pain in your back for a while and you do not know why. And when you go to the physiotherapist, you tell them that you hurt your back lifting heavy objects.
Giving inconsistent statements also shows that you are not trustworthy. The world of medicine has not yet developed a way for doctors, insurance adjusters or juries to measure pain and suffering after an accident so they have to rely on your word.
If they do not think that you are credible, they will not believe your testimony about how you got hurt or how much pain you are in. Some of the factors that determine whether you are credible include:
- The consistency of your statements
- The honesty in your statements
- Whether you have a criminal record
You are more likely to do favors for someone that you like. It’s human nature. So, when you appear likeable in front of a jury, they are more likely to believe your story and give you the compensation that you deserve.
Now, you might be thinking, “why do I need to appear likeable in front of a jury if I have a good personal injury lawyer and a good case?”
If you are not likeable, your lawyer will have to work twice as hard to prepare you for deposition and trial. And if your lawyer is as good as you think she is she will bluntly tell you that you need to work on your personality because you do not come off well to strangers.
Backed up by a Medical Professional
You will have trouble proving your case if your doctor is not on your side. If the doctor says that you tore your rotator cuff when you slipped and fell, the jury will award you pain and suffering damages that are equivalent to your injury.
Only your doctor is allowed to give a diagnosis of your injuries. So if they think that your injuries are not as severe as you make them out to be, the jury will believe him and award you pain and suffering damages based on their diagnosis.
The good news is that if you think your doctor is underestimating how much pain and suffering you are going through because of your injuries, you can always seek another opinion from another doctor. You should be careful, however, not to appear as if you were “doctor shopping”. Doctor shopping is when you seek second opinions from several doctors until you find one who will give you the diagnosis you are looking for.
Openness about Your Pain and Suffering
You have to show the jury how bad your pain is. Just because you have an injury, doesn’t mean they will automatically see the amount of pain and suffering you are going through. The jury has to know how your pain and suffering has affected your life and your ability to work.
If you suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence, you do not have to go through the pain and suffering alone. We can help. Contact one of our personal injury lawyers at Kevin P Landry law offices at 508-746-2700 or visit our Plymouth offices for a free initial consultation.