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What is “Pain and Suffering”?

July 29, 2022

People who are injured in accidents often experience pain and suffering associated with their injuries. While it may not be possible to explicitly measure how much pain and suffering has been experienced by the plaintiff in a personal injury case, pain and suffering is still a key aspect of most personal injury claims. By understanding what pain and suffering is and how it is assessed from a legal perspective, you can better recognize what level of compensation you are due in your claim.

What is “Pain and Suffering”?

Types of Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering can occur in the mind and in the body. Therefore, personal injury lawyers often divide the pain and suffering that their clients experience into these two categories when assessing damages. Here is what each category of pain and suffering includes:

Physical Pain and Suffering

Your actual injuries are sure to cause significant pain. The amount of pain you experience typically depends on the severity of said injuries and the effectiveness of treatment. This category of damages does not only include the pain and suffering you have faced at the time you file your claim. It also features effects you will likely experience in the future due to the actions of the defendant.

Mental Pain and Suffering

As a byproduct of injuries caused by a defendant’s negligence, you may also experience mental distress, pain, and suffering. How pain is processed varies from person to person, but mental pain and suffering can manifest in several different ways. Some examples of mental pain and suffering you could experience following an accident include:

  • Emotional distress
  • Inability to continue enjoying life
  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Sadness
  • Anguish
  • Etc

If your injury is very severe, there are other manifestations of pain and suffering to be concerned about as well. For example, someone who suffered a debilitating injury may spiral into depression due to their emotional distress. Likewise, severe mental disorders like PTSD can develop and create further issues. People often need assistance from doctors and lawyers to accurately articulate the mental pain and suffering they are experiencing, so do not hesitate to get in touch with a personal injury attorney who can help you get started with the process.

Calculating Pain and Suffering

Defining someone’s pain and suffering is not an exact science. Judges do not have a set of guidelines are charts that dictate exactly what compensation someone is owed in association with pain and suffering that defendants have caused them. Instead, juries are encouraged to use common sense and their experience to determine an amount that would be reasonable.

In some instances, there is a multiplier that can be used to calculate pain and suffering, but this is not always used. The multiplier basically multiplies the total of the plaintiff’s special damages, which include medical bills and lost earnings, by a multiplier that falls between 1.5 and 4. The numbers are based on a scale that is used to rate the plaintiff’s pain and suffering.

For example, an attorney could use a “two” to signify a person’s pain and suffering level. Suppose that person has $40,000 in special damages. Using that multiplier of “two,” their pain and suffering damages would be approximately $80,000. Other factors can impact the amount of compensation you are due for your pain and suffering, so it is essential that you contact a lawyer to help you properly calculate your damages.

Get the Most From Your Personal Injury Claim

Pain and suffering is a critical component of any personal injury case. To get the most from your personal injury claim, contact The Fang Law Firm to have your case fully evaluated today. You can reach out by using the contact form on this page.