From the Desk of Jeff Shaw, Attorney at Law

How Do Juries Put a Specific Dollar Amount of an Injured Person's Pain and Suffering?

Posted by Jeff Shaw | Mar 08, 2017 | 0 Comments


The most common question I get as an attorney is:  "How Much is My Case Worth?"

Indiana law establishes the amount of damages that a person can recover in any jury trial in Indiana from a business or individual who negligently caused his or her injuries.

(Of course, you can recover a settlement for your slip and fall injury in any amount the parties decide upon -- and most cases do settle out-of-court.)


There are two types of damages that can be recovered under Indiana law:  "economic" damages such as medical bills, lost wages, property damages, trips to the doctor and the like; and "non-economic" damages such as mental anguish, pain and suffering, and the loss of quality of life.

While economic damages can be relatively easy to calculate and recover (but see the Stanley v. Walker case for an explanation of differing opinions about the value of medical services rendered), it is in the "non-economic" damages that big verdicts are won.  And Shaw Law Offices has won plenty of big verdicts through the years.  Our track record is difficult to beat for large law firms, let alone the smaller, more intimate office that we currently operate. (Disclaimer:  each case is different and no guarantee can be made on your case).

Those non-economic damages can be very difficult to quantify.  In fact, a Judge will tell a jury that the non-economic damages in any verdict must be done reasonably -- but are not required to be a strict mathematical calculation.

If your case went to a jury trial in Indiana, a Judge would read to them an instruction that defines the factors they could consider in determining your damages:

703 General Elements of Damages

If you decide from the greater weight of the evidence that [defendant] is liable to [plaintiff], then you must decide the amount of money that will fairly compensate [plaintiff].

In deciding the amount of money you award, you may consider:

(1) the nature and extent of the injury, and the effect of the injury on your ability to function as a whole person;
(2) whether the injury is temporary or permanent;
(3) the value of lost earnings and loss or impairment of earning capacity;
(4) the physical pain and mental suffering you have experienced and will experience in the future as a result of the injury;
(5) the reasonable value of necessary medical care, treatment, and services you incurred and will incur in the future;
(6) the aggravation of a pre-existing injury or condition;

(7) the disfigurement and or deformity resulting from the injury;

and  (8) your  life expectancy.

The Judge does not require the injured person to present evidence of the dollar value of  his or her pain.

And such pain and suffering does not need be proven to a mathematical certainty.  It's simply up to the jury to make a "reasonable" determination.

So, how does Shaw Law Offices help you recover pain and suffering damages in any lawsuit?

The first thing we do is gather evidence.

Related and relevant evidence needs to be preserved and gathered to prove those damages.  One thing is clear: the more evidence you are able to gather to support your claim, the better your chances to recover adequate compensation.

Types of evidence that are most effective in proving pain and suffering damages after a slip and fall can include:

  • Photographs (and videos) of you and your injuries both before and after the accident;
  • Personal diaries or journals describing your experiences;
  • Testimony from family or friends or co-workers that persuasively explains your hardships; friends and family explaining how the personal injury has negatively impacted the victim's life;
  • Proof of physical and mental health treatments.

The value of pain and suffering damages is difficult to define because these damages are not entirely calculable like medical bills, invoices, billing statements, receipts and other items with a hard mathematical number attached to it.

Pain and suffering damages are usually determined based upon common sense of the jury -- taking into account how the slip and fall happened and why it happened.  It also takes into account the nature and extent of your injury: was it permanent? did it leave a scar? will you require future medical care? will the injury result in further limitations? will it cause pain on a daily basis?

Let Shaw Law Offices help your case reach its maximum potential. Toll Free:  (855) DID-U-FALL.  That's (855) 343-8325.

We Get You Back on Your Feet.

About the Author

Jeff Shaw

Jeff Shaw has over 25+ years of experience trying personal injury lawsuits with over 100+ jury/bench trials. His reputation is one of fierceness in the court room mixed with good humor.


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