NON-ECONOMIC DAMAGES AND LOSSES

In most cases proving economic losses can be calculated without much difficulty (i.e. medical bills, out of pocket expenses, wage loss).  Non-economic losses, often referred to as pain and suffering, are a bit more nebulous and generally more difficult to prove than economic losses.  In fact, there have been countless cases where juries awarded the Plaintiff’s requested economic losses and no ($0) non-economic damages.

A large part of proving non-economic losses (e.g. pain and suffering; loss of enjoyment of life) depends on the attorney.  There are numerous effective ways to prove pain and suffering harms to an adjuster or jury.  Obviously, this article is not an all inclusive guide to presenting non-economic losses, it is just a few examples undertaken to present such losses.

  • Some attorneys recommend that the client keep a journal of his/her pain and suffering. Other attorneys believe that a journal makes the plaintiff look like a “professional litigant” and actually hurts plaintiff’s case.  It depends upon the personal preference of the attorney and client whether to undertake this method.  As an alternative, the client’s family member could keep a journal describing the client’s complaints and physical limitations.
  • A pain and suffering calendar can be created, charting the claimant’s complaints on a day to day basis. The pain and suffering calendar can be combined with a calendar that charts the dates and types of medical treatment undergone by the claimant.
  • Friends, neighbors, and co-workers are an excellent source for the presentation which evidences non-economic losses. Many attorneys are of the opinion that a case should never be presented to a jury without these types of witnesses.  The primary reason these witnesses are so effective is they often have observed the client but do not have a vested interest as do family members.  It is surprising what neighbors, friends and co-workers notice.  These witnesses may have even participated in the same activity with the client prior to the crash.  They can also provide specific details and vignette regarding the client’s active lifestyle.  These witnesses can compare and contrast plaintiff’s lifestyle prior to the verses after the crash.

These are a few examples of how attorneys prove pain and suffering losses to a jury or adjuster.  There many ways to present these damages and it varies from attorney to attorney.

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