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What is Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury Case?

What is Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury Case?

Most people know that if they’re injured in a car accident, they should receive compensation to repair or replace their vehicle. And in the context of any type of personal injury claim, they know that victims are supposed to be compensated for their medical bills and lost income. But “pain and suffering,” what is it and what does it have to do with a personal injury claim?

Lost income, property damage and medical bills – these are all types of “damages” that a plaintiff (injured party) can receive in a personal injury case. Pain in suffering is also a component of a personal injury lawsuit and can mean additional compensation to the injured party.

Two Types of ‘Pain & Suffering’

Pain and suffering in a personal injury case is broken down into two categories: 1) physical pain and suffering, and 2) mental pain and suffering. Physical pain and suffering is easy to understand, so what counts as “mental pain and suffering”? Examples include but are not limited to:

  • The mental anguish of not being able to have children because of an injury.
  • The mental suffering involved with losing the ability to ever drive again.
  • The mental suffering involved in losing a limb or being confined to a wheelchair for the rest of one’s life.
  • The anguish suffered when a victim’s spouse leaves them because they are no longer able to engage in acts of intimacy.
  • Because of the new disability, the anguish involved in not being able to do the things one used to do, like paint, work on cars, cook delicious meals, hike, drive their kids around, go to the gym, work in their previous occupation (before the accident), think clearly, stay on task, remember, and so on.

Mental pain and suffering may involve anger, sadness, feelings of hopelessness, humiliation, anxiety, shock, grief, depression, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Mental pain and suffering basically has to do with the negative emotions someone experiences after an accident as a normal course of events – it is typical for someone who has been through a physically painful and traumatic event.

There aren’t specific guidelines for awarding pain and suffering. Generally, the amount for pain and suffering is either negotiated through the settlement process, or if it’s awarded by a jury, it’s based on what the jury feels is fair considering the plaintiff’s circumstances.

Next: Lost wages in a Car Accident Claim

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