The most common type of injury that leads to an award of pain and suffering damages is a severe physical injury that causes physical or mental anguish for a period of time following an accident. For example, a head injury suffered in a car crash that results in a persistent headaches and emotional problems could potentially lead to the awarding of pain and suffering damages.
Facilitative mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that utilizes a neutral facilitator who seeks to find common ground between the plaintiffs and defendant. The facilitator in a medical malpractice case is normally a medical malpractice attorney who understands the nuances of medical malpractice cases. The hope is that the facilitator can talk with each party frankly about the strengths and weaknesses of their case, and convince the parties to agree on a settlement amount that is acceptable -- particularly in light of the fact that the parties are avoiding the cost of litigation.
In the state of North Carolina, an individual is held accountable for the intentional infliction of emotional distress if the victim or plaintiff can prove that the defendant’s conduct was outrageous and extreme, that the conduct was intended to cause severe emotional distress, and that the defendant’s conduct did in fact cause severe emotional distress. Although the definition of outrageous conduct can be subjective, it should be more than just threats, annoyances, insults, and petty oppressions.
In the context of the doctor-patient relationship, proving the necessary elements of an emotional distress claim can be difficult. Plaintiffs may need medical evidence, from psychologists or orthopedists, of emotional or physical injuries -- the more intense the mental anguish and the longer the suffering, the more likely you'll be able to prove emotional distress. And the more extreme or outrageous the underlying conduct, the more likely you'll be able to link your distress to that conduct.
Your attorney should also disclose “bad facts” in the opening statement.[20] A bad fact is anything the defense would want to bring to the jury’s attention because it makes the defense case much stronger. For example, your failure to follow your doctor’s prescribed treatment is a bad fact. By disclosing bad facts first, your attorney can take the sting out of them.
First, you must show that the health care provider acted negligently. Medical negligence occurs when a professional violates the standard of care. The standard of care is the professionally accepted method for treating a specific disorder. This standard varies depending on a number of factors including the patient's age, overall health, and specific disorder, as well as geographic location.
Previously, a New York appeals court had also ruled that a couple was allowed to sue a fertility clinic for emotional distress after the clinic implanted the female plaintiff’s embryo in another woman, and although neither of the plaintiffs suffered physical injuries, the appeals court ruled that the couple had suffered substantial emotional injury due to the defendants’ breach of their duty of care.   
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The study recommended reforming the system by increasing funding for legal services, so attorneys could be compensated for their time; making defendants who lose a case pay the plaintiff's attorney fees; or sending malpractice complaints to an administrative system with neutral adjudicators and medical experts so patients wouldn't need an attorney.
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An employer was displeased with employee’s work, and began circulating an old mug shot of the employee around the office. The employer then hired a private investigator to place the employee under surveillance. Coincidentally, the investigator discovered that the employee was cheating on his wife, took photos, and sent them to his wife. The employee's wife subsequently divorced him. The employee sued the employer for IIED. The Court held that the employee could not sue the employer for IIED because the conduct did not rise to the level of “outrageous.” [7]
For example, imagine that you repeatedly told your doctor that you had joint pain and a rash, and the doctor just shrugged off your comments about the joint pain as the normal process of aging and gave you an ointment for the rash. He ignored your family history of psoriasis and overlooked the connection between the two symptoms that could have led to a diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis until after you suffered severe complications -- like damage to your heart valve.
Because her breast cancer had not been treated in time, it had actually metabolized—or spread—to her lymph nodes. She immediately underwent a mastectomy and began a radiation and chemotherapy routine. However, because of the advanced stages of this cancer, it spread to her bloodstream and to her bones. As noted at trial—and looking at the facts of the spread of cancer—she might not live for much longer.

Significantly, your attorney can only use these examples of loss to illustrate your injuries if you provide it to him or her. If your case is in litigation you will most likely sit for a deposition (your testimony given under oath before a court reporter who is taking down questions directed to you by the defense attorney and your responses). In preparing for your deposition, your attorney may ask you to explain how this accident has affected your life. Be ready to give real life examples so that your attorney can best advocate on your behalf.
Plaintiffs can also sue for the negligent infliction of severe emotional distress that they experienced because of someone else’s injury. This types of suit occur sometimes when a person has to witness the injury or death of a loved one caused by another person’s negligence. However, to succeed on such a claim one must be able to prove that their distress was an immediate and foreseeable result of the defendant’s behavior. In addition, the plaintiff generally must physically witness the accident in order to be able to recover for this type of claim.
One attorney wrote to us that my Dad’s age was above the average life expectancy, and therefore it “seriously reduces the damages likely to be awarded for loss of future life earnings. Certainly this does not excuse the poor care he received but this makes the case economically untenable as the expenses will likely eat up the majority of likely recoverable damages. We do not have punitive damages in Washington (state) that an outraged jury could award to punish the Dr. and Hospital for their callousness. For these reasons our firm does not wish to undertake this case.”
Again – so what? Do you really want to be going to a doctor that injured you and caused you pain and suffering? There are much better options out there. You found this doctor. You’ll find another one. There are numerous resources available to help you find a new, more competent physician. A simple Google search of “find doctor New York” will yield a multitude of websites designed to do just that. If you have health insurance, contact your insurance company. They can usually provide you with a list of doctors in your area that are covered by your plan. Also, don’t under-estimate the value of your friends and family as a helpful resource regardless of whether or not you have insurance. Talk to them to find out what doctors with whom they entrust their health. In no time at all, you will be sure to find the right doctor for you.
How is emotional distress defined in the eyes of the law? In most cases, you can only sue for emotional damages if the incident in question physically harmed you. Emotional distress suits are trickier than other types of lawsuits. It’s important to have a solid understanding of the types of emotional distress claims before you attempt to file a lawsuit.
I was an RN and suffered serious and permanent harm from my cancer surgery. There were many errors, including my waking up during surgery, life-threatening infection, internal sutures that did not dissolve, renal failure, a collapsed lung after hospital discharge, abscesses and wound dehiscence. Years later, I am homebound and unable to work. I would be making $80-100,000/year now or more but am stuck barely above poverty on Social Security Disability. Since I and the various insurances have spent over $2 million for my care, and I do not have enough money to obtain all the care and medications I need, I am very unhappy. I have a potential new abscess now. It is a living horror, and the cancer may return. I am always in pain. No attorney would take my case. Even the failure to diagnose the cancer for years, with facts right there for every doctor I went to with my symptoms, isn't actionable. I am however, alive.

There are many alternatives to litigation. Depending upon the jurisdiction you are in -- and whether there are caps on damages that may come into play in a formal trial -- you may wish to consider these options. Remember that in many cases alternative dispute resolution is simply part of the trial process and not the endgame. Your best first step might be discussing your options with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.
Jury awards for pain and suffering may vary depending upon socio-economic and political factors within the community from which the jury is drawn.[2] In most states the maximum monetary amount awarded for pain and suffering is capped at what is listed in the particular suit or written complaint. In some jurisdictions there are maximum amounts set in law which a jury may not exceed in awarding damages.
* Contingency fee model. An alternative to the fee-for-service model, where the injured party takes all the risk, is the contingency fee model. This option, provided for by the Contingency Fees Act of 1997, offers a mechanism for people with insufficient funds to access the courts if they have a good case. Under the terms and conditions of the agreement, lawyers provide their services on a “no win, no fee” basis. If the case is successful, the lawyers are entitled to double their fees to a maximum of 25 percent of the settlement, whichever is lower.
Many people mistakenly choose to file medical malpractice lawsuits because they are unhappy with the results of their treatment. However, a poor result -- even death -- does not always equate to malpractice. Medicine is an inexact science. Even the most routine procedure can result in complications both foreseen and unforeseen. There are no guarantees that any treatment, no matter how commonplace, will be successful. As such, it is possible -- and even common when it comes to some procedures -- for doctors to do everything right and still fail to obtain a good result.
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