Calculating Pain and Suffering for Burn Injuries
The pain from burn injuries is horrific. Anyone who has sustained even a minor burn (such as by touching a hot stove) knows well how incredibly painful even a very small burn can be.
As burn injury lawyers, a key aspect of our representation is communicating to a jury the full degree of pain and suffering endured. There are four primary components associated with burn injury cases:
- The pain and suffering resulting from the injury itself. In addition to the physical pain and suffering at the time of the injury, there is often concurrent psychological pain, such as the fear of imminent death.
- The pain and suffering from immediate and follow-on treatment. Treatment for burn injuries in itself is often extremely painful, particularly surgeries involving skin grafts.
- Future treatment. Pain and suffering does not end because a trial takes place. Severe burns can involve years of surgeries and physical therapy. In making a case for full compensation, a burn injury victim is entitled to damages not only for past pain and suffering, but also for future pain and suffering likely to be endured for future treatment that will more likely than not be required.
- Psychological pain and suffering. Burn injury victims are often left with permanent physical and emotional scars that must be endured on a daily basis. In some cases, psychological and other counseling is required on a long-term basis.
We Help Juries Understand the Full Measure of Pain and Suffering Endured
In order to properly compensate a burn injury victim for pain and suffering, jurors must understand the full extent of the pain and suffering experienced in the past, as well as that likely to be suffered in the future. To provide this critical information, in addition to the testimony of our client, we often additionally introduce the testimony of medical experts to describe required physical treatment, as well as psychologists who can provide an opinion on mental and emotional pain and suffering. In many cases video is also helpful to show what a burn injury victim must go through on a daily basis, as well as the treatment that must be endured.
There is no set formula which juries must use to determine a monetary amount for pain and suffering in cases involving burn injuries, other than their calculation should be based upon the evidence introduced at trial. In our experience, jurors will consider a wide range of factors, such as:
- The severity of the burns
- The amount of the person’s body covered by the burns
- What areas of the body were burned
- The surgeries and other medical treatment required or that will be necessary
- The types of pain and suffering involved in rehabilitation
- The amount of psychological pain endured in the past and likely to be endured in the future
- Other factors that a jury deems relevant