If you are like most people, you have heard the term "pain and suffering" before, and you know that it applies to personal injury law, but you might not know exactly what it means or how it applies. We are going to answer those questions for you today.
What is pain and suffering?
Pain and suffering refers to damages that are awarded to plaintiffs in personal injury cases based on the physical and emotional results of an accident caused by someone else's negligence.
Before we get any further, let's back up for a second and talk about damages, in general. Damages are awarded in personal injury cases to victims of negligence. Damage awards are aimed at making an accident victim "whole" again.
The awards can include economic damages, such as for medical bills and lost wages, as well as non-economic damages, which include compensation for pain and suffering.
When does pain and suffering apply?
Pain and suffering damages can apply in any personal injury case that involves serious injuries or mental suffering.
If an accident only results in only a few scratches and was not very traumatic, then it would be really difficult to convince a jury that pain and suffering damages should apply. However, if a person suffers broken bones and a concussion, and a series of surgeries are needed, then pain and suffering will likely apply.
How is pain and suffering calculated?
Unlike monetary damages for medical bills and lost wages, pain and suffering can be more difficult to calculate because it is hard to put a value on a person's physical pain and mental anguish. However, that is your personal injury lawyer's job, and there are ways of calculating these types of damages.
In general, there are factors that are considered when determining how much pain and suffering should apply, including:
- The severity of the plaintiff's mental or physical injuries
- The severity of the plaintiff's mental or physical suffering
- Scarring or disfigurement
- How much recovery time was needed/is needed
- Future consequences of the injuries
- The personal experience of the plaintiff, which could be unique
Are you are entitled to pain and suffering?
After a serious accident, you may be entitled to pain and suffering if the accident was caused by a negligent party, such as a driver who ran a red light or a store owner who left a floor wet without a warning sign.
The only way to know for sure is by meeting with an experienced lawyer in your area who can give you trustworthy advice.
Keep in mind: An insurance adjuster will never give you an honest assessment on whether you are entitled to pain and suffering or how much your claim is truly worth.