What are Pain and Suffering Damages?
In addition to actual damages, or damages for which there is a concrete amount, many victims of car accidents and other personal injury claims are entitled to pain and suffering. But what is pain and suffering?
Pain and suffering varies from case to case, as each claim is unique. Some individuals suffer more than others, regardless of the severity of the accident. Some individuals are relatively unaffected by an accident, whereas others may suffer from anxiety for years. However, there are several types of pain and suffering that are commonly requested in personal injury lawsuits.
Physical pain and suffering includes any pain that was caused by the accident. This refers to immediate injuries, such as broken bones or lacerations, as well as future pain, such as chronic backaches or joint pain. Enduring painful medical treatments may also be included in physical pain and suffering.
Mental anguish is also commonly claimed in personal injury cases. Mental anguish refers to emotional distress, anxiety, loss of enjoyment of life, and even shock and humiliation that were suffered as a result of the accident. For example, consider the situation where a pair of best friends is headed out of town for a fun weekend away. A negligent driver runs a red light, killing one of the friends. The surviving friend may suffer from flashbacks and posttraumatic stress disorder for months after the accident, interfering with his daily activities.
Loss of enjoyment of life refers to a severe detriment the victim of the accident suffers. Loss of enjoyment of life occurs when a medical condition stemming from the accident intrudes into all aspects of the victim’s life. In some cases, this is loss of sexual function. Or, perhaps the victim is scared to leave the house, or is forced to give up a hobby that he previously enjoyed.
One of the greatest challenges with pain and suffering damages is their calculation. There are no medical bills to refer to with pain and suffering—instead, it is an estimate of what the victim deserves based on how he has suffered. If the case goes to trial, most jury instructions do not delineate how to calculate these damages. Rather, the members of the jury are told that they should use their own judgment to create an award, should they find for the plaintiff.
Personal injury attorneys are experienced in arguing the value of pain and suffering damages. They are familiar with recent case rulings on pain and suffering as well as the burdens of proof that must be demonstrated to prevail in these claims. To boost one’s chances of success with a pain and suffering claim, a personal injury attorney is an invaluable asset.
If you feel that you may be entitled to recover for pain and suffering, contact the Morristown personal injury attorneys at Leonard Legal Group to discuss your accident. For your convenience, we offer evening hours and a free consultation. To schedule your consultation at a time that works for you, call our 24-hour call center at 973-984-1414 or contact us online.