The tort law system is designed to make whole those who have been injured. Since medical science is both an imperfect art and an imperfect science, money is most often the cure for what ails plaintiffs. In each case the jury must decide how much money it takes to remedy the injury the victim suffered? This gets further complicated when considering someone who suffers and will suffer from a permanent condition brought on by another. The issue of damages is strongly linked with the issue of causation. The courts seek to compensate plaintiffs for all of the monetary loss they suffer at the hands of those found liable (those who are found legally responsible). An important aspect of liability is the determination that a wrongdoer was the proximate or legal cause of a plaintiffs injury.
Pain is a somewhat subjective part of the human experience. Torts professors sometimes joke that there is no “Pain-o-meter” for measuring how much something hurts. In our civil justice system, the awarding and amount of pain and suffering awards are a matter for the fact finder. This means that the decision about how much to compensate someone for their pain is often left to a jury of their peers. This is often a difficult decision for jurors to make, especially considering the subjectivity of pain.
Doctors use a chart with a series of faces ranging from one that seems to express mild discomfort to one that has tears dripping down it to figure out how much pain a person is in. That is the height of the technology used to measure pain. Juries are often called upon to answer the question oh what value each of these bring, not for themselves, but for some other injured person. It is the job of the plaintiff’s attorney to call for an appropriate standard when compensating for pain. The standards used vary by location. Pain and suffering make up just one piece of an injured person’s damages. Juries must also account for lost wages, future wages, medical expense and future medical expenses, among other potential costs.
How much pain is worth $2,654,249.99? That number represents what a judge, in lieu of a jury, granted Ms. Kristin Davis after two corporate defendants and an individual were found liable for her injuries. The trial judge’s award contemplated past medical damage, car rental, past lost wages, future lost wages, past household expenses, future household expenses and future medical expenses. The Court of Appeal for the Second Circuit of Louisiana reduced the initial award by a total of $1,782,948. Ms. Davis’ award was reduced in part because she failed to prove, in the opinion of the defendants and the Court of Appeal, that she was actually disabled in a way that prevented her from participating in any occupation. The allegation that the accident was caused by the defendant and that these injuries were caused by the accident would both have to be proven beyond a preponderance of the evidence. This means that the fact finder would have to determine that it was more likely than not the injuries were the result of the defendant’s negligence.
It was the determination of the Court of Appeal that Ms. Davis did not prove that her alleged future needs beyond a preponderance of the evidence. The court reversed the trial court’s findings on these expenses and affirmed a reduced award in the other areas.
If you have pain that may have been caused by someone else, contact the Berniard Law Firm toll-free at 1-866-574-8005. A licensed attorney will help you get the award you deserve for your pain and suffering as well as other past and future expenses if applicable.