After an injury, a person usually only thinks about recovering from their injuries, but recovery under the law is a much different concept. When an injury is caused due to the negligence or actions of another individual, the law entitles the injured person to be made whole. At the end of the day, being made whole involves recovering financially for medical costs, out of pocket expenses, lost wages, and what is commonly referred to as “pain and suffering.”
The concept of recovering for pain and suffering is often met with controversy, but this is mostly due to a misunderstanding of what the concept entails. When a person is injured, their life changes, sometimes permanently. Simple tasks often become overwhelming or even impossible. Routine physical activities, like exercising, or social activities, like playing sports, oftentimes have to stop. While not being able to exercise may not sound like a financial detriment, there is no way to recover the actual time that a person was unable to do what they wanted due to the injury. All the law can do is financially compensate a person for losing the potential to enjoy life. Similarly, the law cannot take away the physical pain a person had to endure, but can financially compensate a person for having to endure pain.
One of the central controversies regarding “pain and suffering” financial settlements revolves around the valuation of pain. Many people disagree with the fundamental concept that a person should recover money for having endured pain. However, without some form of consequence, there would be little incentive for the public at large to be concerned about how their actions effect others. The law is designed to protect the public, and as Americans, we have the right to pursue happiness, so when that right is harmed due to the carelessness of another, a fundamental American right has been harmed.
After an injured person has begun recovering, they need to seek out legal advice if their injury was caused by another person as they may have a legal right to recover.