Legal Memorandum: Burden of Proving Future Pain and Suffering

Issue: Whether a plaintiff’s testimony of ‘ongoing pain’ in his knee since an accident can be admitted to prove future pain and suffering?

Area of Law: Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Future pain and suffering; Future damages; Continuing pain in the knee
Jurisdiction: Minnesota
Cited Cases: 819 N.W.2d 198; 167 N.W.2d 58
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 11/01/2012

A plaintiff’s testimony of continuing pain in his knee is admissible and sufficient, on its own, to sustain his burden of proving future pain and suffering.  While future damages must be established by reasonable medical certainty, “[e]xpert medical testimony is not the exclusive means of proving future damages or permanent injuries.  Other evidence may be used, such as showing that the plaintiff is not fully recovered at the time of trial.”  Pagett v. No. Elec. Supply Co., 167 N.W.2d 58, 64 (Minn. 1969).  A plaintiff’s testimony that he continues to suffer pain and takes medication to cope with the pain is sufficient, if the jury is persuaded, to sustain a future pain and suffering award.  Renswick v. Wenzel, 819 N.W.2d 198, 205 (Minn. Ct. App. 2012).


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