When you’ve been hurt because of the wrongful act of another person, and you seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit, you are entitled to pursue damages for a wide range of losses, from wages and income to unreimbursed medical expenses, from loss of companionship or consortium to loss of enjoyment of life. In many instances, you can also seek a monetary award for pain and suffering, both past and future.
The Different Types of Pain and Suffering
As a general rule, pain and suffering falls under one of two categories—physical pain and suffering, and mental/emotional pain and suffering. The physical pain and suffering you experience need not be constant, severe or excruciation. You may have chronic pain that manifests at a relatively low level, but that affords you little or no respite. You may have intermittent, but substantial pain that leaves you in dread of the next episode. It’s also important to understanding that it’s pain and suffering. The consequence may be a limitation on your mobility, instead of the typical pain associated with nerve impulses. For example, you may have burns that restrict your motor skills—there may be no pain, per se, but you may still be entitled to damages for pain and suffering.
Mental/emotional pain and suffering can take a variety of forms, from depression and anxiety to anger or fear. Often, the mental or emotional pain and suffering you experience is the result of a physical injury.
How Do You Calculate Damages for Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering is considered a form of non-economic damages—those which are less tangible and not easily calculated. Courts customarily ask juries to use common sense when awarding damages for pain and suffering. Jurors may take a number of factors into consideration, from your perceived credibility to your appearance and demeanor during direct or cross examination. Even though it has no bearing on your claim, a jury may also consider whether you have a criminal record.
In many states, there is precedent to apply a “multiplier” as a damage award for pain and suffering. In such an approach, the jury ascertains the actual out-of-pocket losses and multiplies that amount by a specific number (typically between 3 and 10) to get damages for pain and suffering.
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At Barnard, Mezzanotte, Pinnie, Seelaus & Kraft LLP, we have fought for the rights of individuals throughout Delaware County since 1980. We offer a free initial consultation. To schedule an appointment, call us at 610-565-4055 or 302-594-4535 or contact us online.
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