In a personal injury case, individuals can pursue compensation for more than just the economic damages they suffer, such as medical bills, lost wages, or damaged property. They can also receive compensation for non-economic damages, commonly known as pain and suffering, which is an important component in such cases. These types of damages are less straightforward than economic damages, but it is also where one can obtain a greater amount of monetary compensation, depending on the specific details of a case.
Defining Pain and Suffering
There are two categories of pain and suffering: mental and physical. These can be further broken down into the following descriptions:
- Physical Pain and Suffering: This is the actual pain associated with one’s physical injuries. It covers not only the pain and discomfort one has endured to date, but also the future pain and determinant he or she will continue to experience in the future as a result of someone’s negligence.
- Mental Pain and Suffering: This refers to the mental pain and anguish one might suffer as a result of the bodily injuries sustained. It includes emotional distress, loss of enjoyment, fear, anger, humiliation, anxiety, shock, and any other negative emotion suffered by the victim as a result of the trauma and pain inflicted by the accident.
More severe cases of mental pain and suffering can also include anger, depression, lack of appetite, lack of energy, sexual dysfunction, mood changes, sleep disturbances, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Examples of Pain and Suffering
If someone was injured in a car accident, resulting in multiple broken bones and a severe concussion, this would be considered a serious accident. The person suffering from these injuries might become angry, depressed, suffer from insomnia, and experience a loss of appetite that might further affect his or her health. Due to these problems, the injured victim receives a referral to a psychologist and a therapist. All of these issues are considered “pain and suffering,” tracking back to the accident, for which the claimant is entitled to compensation.
In another example, an individual sustained minor injuries in a car accident, including back strain. Unfortunately, this prevents the injured victim from exercising for several weeks and participating in a marathon they had been training for. As a result of having to miss the marathon, the injured victim becomes angry, unhappy, incredibly frustrated, and marginally depressed. There is no need for mental health assistance and though the injuries are minor, there might still be a viable case for mental pain and suffering.
How is it Calculated?
Juries are not given specific guidelines for determining the value of one’s pain and suffering in personal injury lawsuits and, as such, are expected to use good sense, background, and experience in coming to a decision on what a fair and just figure would be for the plaintiff. Some of the factors considered in the valuation of pain and suffering in a personal injury case include:
- Whether a plaintiff is credible
- The consistency of a plaintiff’s testimony regarding his or her injuries
- If the plaintiff’s physician supports his or her claim of pain and suffering
- Whether a plaintiff has a criminal record
- If a diagnosis, injuries, and claims make sense to the jury
Additionally, a number ranging from 1.5 to 4, also known as a “multiplier,” is used to help calculate damages. The multiplier is based on the severity of one’s injuries, but is only a rough estimate and does not always apply to all cases. It is generally reserved for more minor cases, wherein damages are less than $50,000.
Ventura Personal Injury Attorneys
If you or someone you love sustained injuries due to someone else’s negligence, it is time to turn to our team of skilled Ventura personal injury attorneys for support. Accidents can inflict life-altering injuries for which you might incur costly medical expenses, lost wages, or even the ability to return to work. You should not have to pay for someone else’s mistakes. At Haffner Law Group, we draw from our decades of proven and trusted experience negotiating and litigating complicated insurance claims. Our trial-tested team has earned a 95% success rate fighting for our clients in court.
Backed by over 50 years of experience, you can be confident in our ability to provide the personalized attention you deserve. From initial consultation to the completion of your case, we will walk you through each step so you never feel alone or lost throughout this process.
Get started on your case today and contact us at (805) 434-6393 to schedule a free consultation.