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Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury Case

>> Jan 28, 2016

After an accident with injuries, accident victims may seek compensation for a number of different damages they sustained as a result of the accident. Damages can include things like medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. In some cases, injured parties may even ask for compensation for pain and suffering.

While many people are familiar with the term “pain and suffering”, its true meaning as it relates to legal claims is often misunderstood. Even more complicated, is quantifying a dollar amount that fairly values an individual’s discomfort or distress as a result of an accident.  Fortunately, a personal injury lawyer is an expert resource that accident victims can turn to if they decide to seek compensation for damages including pain and suffering.


Damages in a Personal Injury Case

Typically, the main purpose for initiating an insurance claim or filing a personal injury lawsuit is to recover compensatory damages from the at-fault party. Compensatory damages are awarded to an accident victim to cover actual expenses like property damage, medical bills, and lost wages.

In some cases, injured parties may also recover compensation for non-monetary damages. Non-monetary damages, or general damages as they are commonly called, are not actual expenses related to an accident. Instead, general damages are meant to compensate injured parties for harm or discomfort that resulted from an accident. The most common type of accident-related general damages that injured parties seek are related to pain and suffering.

If you have been injured in an accident, consult with a compensation lawyer for advice on how to best handle a pain and suffering claim. Because each state takes a different approach to calculating and awarding compensation for pain and suffering, a lawyer will be able to explain what coverages are available to you under your state laws.

Types of Pain and Suffering

Individuals injured in an accident generally can expect to experience some form of harm and discomfort. This can materialize as physical pain and suffering and/or mental pain and suffering.

Physical pain and suffering is characterized as the actual pain experienced from injuries. This can include immediate pain symptoms as well as discomfort that may be expected to last into the future.

Mental pain and suffering is any anguish, distress, or negative emotional reaction that occurs as a result of an accident. This can include responses related to injuries themselves or due to the trauma of being involved in an accident. Depression, anxiety, and insomnia are common accident related examples of mental pain and suffering.

Calculating Pain and Suffering

There are no universal guidelines used to help place a value on an injured person’s pain and suffering. If a personal injury claims goes to trial, a jury will often use their best judgment based on the nature and severity of an accident and injuries when determining what amount, if any, to compensate for pain and suffering.

In some cases, a multiplier theory is used to arrive at a pain and suffering value. In these cases, the total amount of medical bills and lost wages are multiplied by a number, usually between 1.5 and 4. Higher multipliers are applied to the most severe accidents and lower multipliers are used for minor ones.

Whether you plan to file an insurance claim, lawsuit or both, you may be entitled to recover compensation for a variety of accident-related damages including pain and suffering.

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