When individuals who are suffering from conditions that could have been prevented – had an individual, employer, company or government entity simply taken care to better ensure those individuals’ safety – they often start researching their legal options. While searching terms like “personal injury,” they will often come across discussions of “damages.”
Damages are the kinds of compensation awarded to victims of physical harm who have filed personal injury lawsuits successfully. Economic damages are awarded to compensate victims for objective harm that is relatively easy to calculate, such as the cost of past and future medical expenses related to their condition. Non-economic damages are awarded to compensate victims for subjective harm that is impossible to objectively quantify, like the value of a victim’s pain and suffering.
Pain and suffering
When someone is diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer or another asbestos-related disease, loved ones and medical professionals generally focus on that individual’s physical well-being. How are their lungs functioning? Are they experiencing physical symptoms unrelated to lung function? What is their current rate of physical pain?
These are important questions. But, all too often, concerns about a patient’s mental and emotional pain and suffering are glossed over or dismissed entirely. As recent studies indicate that the suicide rate is far higher among cancer patients facing a tough prognosis than it is for the general population, it is critically important to pay close attention to the pain and suffering of patients with asbestos-related conditions.
Whether you are a patient or the loved one of a patient, it’s important to understand that mental and emotional pain and suffering are every bit as dangerous and deserving of attention as physical pain is. By treating this issue with the urgency and seriousness of purpose that it requires, the needs of patients can be served far more effectively.