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What is ‘Pain and Suffering’ in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

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Harvey L. Walner & Associates, Ltd.

January 20, 2016

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Most people have heard the term “pain and suffering,” but they may not necessarily know what it means from a legal perspective. Pain and suffering is a key component of a personal injury lawsuit intended to compensate the plaintiff for losses associated with physical pain and/or emotional trauma as a result of an injury. This legal term is an element of non-economic or “general” damages, which is not exactly meant to cover losses associated with costs such a hospital bill or your lost income because of time missed at work. Instead, it’s meant to calculate the loss of the enjoyment of life, the pleasure, the satisfaction or the utility that human beings derive from life, separate and apart from earnings.

Examples of Pain and Suffering

There are two types of pain and suffering: physical pain and suffering and mental pain and suffering.

Physical pain and suffering is the pain of the plaintiff’s actual physical injuries. It includes not just the pain and discomfort that the claimant has endured to date, but also the detrimental effects that he or she is likely to suffer in the future as a result of the defendant’s negligence.

Mental pain and suffering includes things like mental anguish, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life, fear, anger, humiliation, anxiety, or shock. In some severe cases this can even constitute depression, sleep disturbances, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Essentially, mental pain and suffering is any kind of negative emotion that an accident victim suffers as a result of having to endure the physical pain and trauma of the accident.

How to Calculate Pain and Suffering

Putting a dollar value on pain and suffering is probably the most difficult task for a jury in any personal injury lawsuit. It is a challenging concept to quantify and calculate because there is no scientific formula and no chart or table that juries or insurance companies can look to for guidance. Every injury, injured person, accident and case is different and deserves a thorough evaluation.

There are many, many factors that must be taken into account to determine how much money someone will get for his or her pain and suffering, but they include:

  1. The type of injuries you have suffered.
  2. The severity and duration of your pain.
  3. The effect of your injuries on your enjoyment of life and your sports and hobbies.
  4. The problems you may suffer in the future.
  5. The weight of the evidence you are able to supply that you actually suffered these problems.
  6. Whether the plaintiff’s physicians support the plaintiff’s claims of pain and suffering

Every injury, injured person, accident and case is different and deserves a thorough evaluation. You may need to hire a personal injury lawyer for assistance with pain and suffering damages. Your attorney can advise you on how to present your requests to the court. Also, your lawyer can be on hand in order to assist and represent you during court hearings.

About Harvey L. Walner & Associates

Our attorneys have over 75 years of combined legal experience in personal injury specializations, including personal injury accidents, worker’s compensation, medical malpractice, and wrongful death cases. If you or a loved one should have the misfortune of being in a personal injury accident, and you need a personal injury lawyer, the experienced attorneys at Harvey L. Walner & Associates, Ltd. are here for you. Call us today for a free consultation.

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