How Are Damages Calculated in Personal Injury Cases? Part III

Health-27-300x200Many people inadvertently downplay their accidents for many reasons. It makes sense that no one wants to be perceived as a “victim,” but when it comes to injuries caused by negligence, the best option is to file a claim. In this blog series, we have examined several ways in which an accident can impact someone’s life, and how that affects the damages calculation. In part I, we examined physical injuries; in part II, we discussed medical bills and lost wages. In the final part of this series, we will take a look at how accidents can impact daily life, and what that means for your damages claim. 



The main difference between being considered “disabled” and “abled” is access. A lifetime of dealing with a disability comes with physical and psychological challenges that can never be fully understood by those who have been abled their entire lives. Being suddenly and permanently disabled through an accident – especially through no fault of your own – has a tremendous impact on how you perceive the world, and how you move through it, in its own unique way. 


Disabilities come in many forms, and adjusting to a new way of life may require some significant changes to your environment. For example, do you need an assistive device to help you get around? Does your home need ADA-accessible appliances to be installed? If your home has stairs, you may be required to move somewhere else entirely or install machinery that will allow you to access all areas of your home. This is a whole new way of life, and the cost of these devices and the psychological effects impact the damages calculation. 


Pain and Suffering

In popular media, pain and suffering is treated as an intangible, impossible-to-understand damages calculation. For example, the infamous 1992 “McDonald’s Hot Coffee” case publicly presented the situation as a frivolous lawsuit, but Stella Liebeck, an elderly woman, suffered from physical and psychological pain for the rest of her life. It’s a case that is still discussed today as the egregious and negligent practices of a famous and beloved restaurant was able to be downplayed through their meager counter-settlement amount. The case went to trial and the jury could visually appreciate the true pain and suffering the entire situation had on this woman’s life. You may not be able to put an exact monetary number to end your suffering, but you don’t have to feel like your suffering is irrelevant just because others may lack empathy.


The damages from pain and suffering come from how pervasive it is. The accident could have caused not only permanent physical pain but emotional pain. For example, after a severe car wreck, do you experience debilitating flashbacks that prevent you from getting behind the wheel again? One of the ways of determining the extent of someone’s pain and suffering is how long they theoretically will have to continue living with these conditions. For example, if you’re a young person in your 20’s or 30’s, you will live a life that has been permanently impacted by someone’s negligence for decades to come. 

Studies have shown that daily pain leads to psychological issues and an overall loss of quality of life. If an accident has impacted your life, you deserve representation that will take you seriously and empathize with your situation. At the firm of Robin Frazer Clark, P.C., professionally and aggressively fight for your right to the full amount of damages owed. For a free consultation, reach out to our office online, or call (404) 873.3700.

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