Often, placing a value on pain and suffering can be difficult. Typically, the medical treatment provided provides insight into the value of a claim for pain and suffering. The type and frequency of treatment can be useful in evaluating a claim. Treatment that is more invasive, such as surgery or injection therapy, is typically viewed as having a greater value than less invasive treatment such as physical therapy or chiropractic treatment. Additionally, more frequent treatment typically results in a greater case value than less frequent or sporadic treatment. Failure to follow the recommendations of your doctor can also have a negative impact on the value of a case.
Scarring, disfigurement and the inability to perform usual and customary tasks are also assessed in evaluating a case. It is important to document with photographs any physical manifestations of injuries, such as lacerations, scars, bruising or results of treatment such as casting or bracing. Whether an injured party is limited or precluded from performing activities also helps in determining the value of a claim.
The claimant’s prior medical history can also impact the value of a case. A party who has a pre-existing condition that is aggravated by someone s negligence can expect that the value of their case will be less than a party who suffers a new injury to a previously healthy part of the body.
The value of a case is also dependent upon the witnesses that support the claim. The credibility of the parties making the claim, the parties against whom the claim is made, and the expert witness physicians who testify on their behalf can positively or negatively effect the value of case.
Ultimately, no two case are exactly alike. Accordingly, the value of two cases that appear factually similar may, in fact, be markedly different. As we have outlined above, there are many factors that must be assessed in order to evaluate the overall value of a case.