The Importance of Being Credible
By Sean Lally, Staff Writer
You’ve had an accident, so it’s understandable that there may be a million things whizzing through your mind. It may be the case that you desire to seek compensation for injuries incurred through no fault of your own. The total sum of economic damages (such as medical bills, property damage, lost income etc.) may be the first, most obvious remuneration that you seek, but there are other less obvious forms of anguish that also need to be taken into account.
These are the “pain and suffering” damages and include anything from public shame to shooting pain up the back of your neck. Proving the validity of intangible suffering resulting from your injuries can be a tricky process because what you are trying to prove is something that only you can feel. It is therefore very important that you come across as credible. Here are some tips to help improve your credibility when arguing for pain and suffering damages.
Whether you’re negotiating with an insurance adjuster or speaking before a jury, it’s important to understand that these people are only human. It follows, then, that they will respond to you as a human being, taking into account everything from your general demeanor to your social etiquette. For instance, if you comport yourself in a rude manner, then the jury or adjuster will take note of this behavior and consciously or subconsciously include it in their deliberations. Conversely, if you are polite, well spoken and generally amiable, then the jury or adjuster will be more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt.
If you want to appear credible, then you have to be consistent with your account. If one day the pain is shooting up the back of your neck and the next day it’s dull and throbbing in your knee, then clearly this will come across as suspect. People have to be able to trust you because at the end of the day you’re the only one experiencing the pain. No one else can report objectively on your suffering.
Due to the subjective nature of non-economic damages, it is incredibly helpful to get an expert opinion to back up your story. This is particularly true if your pain and suffering is directly linked to a specific injury. In this case, having a diagnosis from a medical doctor can help quell any doubts that your adjuster or jury may feel.
Proving that you are suffering can be a frustrating ordeal. It will help, as you move forward, to keep these principles in mind. They will give you a leg up as you do the hard work of conveying your painful experiences to a jury or an insurance adjuster. In either case, however, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help guide you and ensure that you received the full amount of compensation to which you are entitled.