In the age of tort reform, the concept of pain and suffering has taken on a highly negative connotation in our public conversations. Many people have allowed themselves to ride along on the tort reform bandwagon only to be faced with a nasty shock when they find themselves on the receiving end of someone else’s negligent behavior. No one wants to be accused of filing a frivolous lawsuit. No one wants to be judged as seeking a lazy way to get rich quick. No one wants to be accused of overstating or faking injuries that may not be immediately visible to others. And no one wants to be accused of being responsible for increased insurance rates. So how does one make a claim for pain and suffering that will be taken seriously without triggering negative responses?
The first step in the process is to obtain the advice of legal counsel. An experienced personal injury lawyer West Palm Beach FL trusts can explain the status of legislation in your state and advise you of any limitations on the amounts that can be collected. Attorneys also pay close attention to trends in settlements and jury verdicts in the courts in which they practice. Staying abreast of current trends plays a critical role in developing the claim and obtaining the best possible result for the client.
Equally important in establishing a claim for pain and suffering is the client’s compliance with medical treatment. It is imperative that a client’s medical records reflect that the client has followed the doctor’s orders to the letter, has appeared for all scheduled appointments, and has not undertaken any actions which the doctor has advised against. For example, if one has an injury to a foot or ankle and has been prescribed a boot, one should not be photographed without the boot and certainly not participating in a roller skating party.
Many jurisdictions today require parties to submit to mandatory mediation prior to setting a trial date. Attorneys evaluate the selection of mediators and prepare a package outlining the injuries for the mediator to review. Attorneys and their staff work diligently to prepare a package that fully informs the mediator as to the physical and emotional injuries suffered by the client. Attorneys may use pre- and post-injury photos, medical records, statements from family members and friends, and the client’s own words to demonstrate the change in the client’s daily ability to be self-supporting, meet work and family obligations, and continue in the habits that previously brought the client enjoyment.
If a personal injury matter proceeds to trial, you can trust your attorney to help you focus on the issues which will resonate most with members of the jury. An attorney can help you understand how to express yourself in a way that draws the jury into your condition. Sometimes a jury will discount multiple surgeries, a lengthy recovery, even the loss of a limb. But this writer has also seen a jury moved to tears by a man describing his lost sense of smell and his inability to get going in the morning because he can no longer smell the coffee.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from the Law Offices of Eric H. Luckman, P.A. for their insight into