Almost everyone has heard the term ‘Pain and suffering’, but many are not aware that this term is a key aspect of a personal injury case. So what exactly is pain and suffering, and how is it used within the legal system to calculate a personal injury claim? we’re going to take a look at this now:
Mental Pain and Suffering
Mental pain and suffering relate to the physical injuries that someone has suffered from, and the by-product of those injuries. Emotional distress, anguish, shock, fear, humiliation, anger, and loss of enjoyment are all considered to be part of mental pain and suffering. In other words, mental pain and suffering relate to any negative emotion that the injured party now suffers from as a result of the accident.
Some people suffer from significant mental pain and suffering, including:
- Mood swings
- Sexual dysfunction
- Sleep disturbances
Mental pain and suffering also include any negative effects that people are likely to suffer from in the future as a result of someone’s negligence.
Pain and Suffering
Physical pain and suffering relate to the pain that the injured parties’ suffer from. This aspect refers to more than the pain and discomfort that they have had to deal with thus far, it also includes any negative effects that they are likely to suffer from in the future as well, as a result of someone’s negligence.
An Example of Pain and Suffering
Imagine that someone was involved in a car accident and suffered many broken bones and concussion as a result of the accident. Due to the extent of their injuries, the individual became depressed, angry, lost their appetite, and had trouble sleeping.
Due to the injuries that the individual suffered from, and the mental health issues that they experienced, the injured party was referred to a psychologist. All of the physical injuries and mental health issues that were experienced due to the accident could lead to a personal injury compensation claim that would take into account the extent of their injuries, and their mental health issues too.
On some occasions, mental health issues can become so bad that the injured party fails to return to work, even when the physical injuries have healed. In a case such as this, the claimant is likely to be awarded damages that take into account their mental suffering, and their loss of earnings. However, if the injured individual suffered from mental health issues as a result of the accident, but they did not need therapy for their anger/anxiety etc. they may still be eligible for compensation related to their mental pain and suffering.
How Pain and Suffering is Calculated
There is no clear guideline to use when determining how much pain and suffering is worth. In most states, Judges ask juries to use common sense when they need to work out how much an injured person should be rewarded.
Although many people think the court uses a ‘Multiplier’ when determining compensation, in reality, it is only used as an estimate as to how much a claimant may get. There are many aspects that are taken into account when considering how much a claim could be worth. These aspects include whether an injured party:
- Will be a good witness
- Has a testimony that is consistent with their injuries
- Has a diagnosis and injuries that make sense to the jury
- Has lied about anything
- Has a criminal record
- Is likeable
- Is credible
- Is exaggerating their claims
- Has a physician who supports their claims of pain and suffering
Please note that every single personal injury case will be different, and there is no guarantee that any injured party will be awarded compensation. However, knowing what the courts consider pain and suffering to be and how it could affect a claim may help injured parties get the compensation they deserve.
If you are currently suffering from a personal injury and are unable to read ‘What is Pain & Suffering?’ please watch our Injury Pedia video so you can gain the Personal Injury Information and Answers you are seeking.