Understanding “Pain and Suffering”
If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident and you’re seeking compensation from a liable defendant, chances are very high you may have heard the phrase “pain and suffering” being used by Attorneys. While, most all of you reading are familiar with the use of these words, their use as legal terms carries a fair share of subtle distinctions.
Pain and suffering resulting from an accident is used as an umbrella term that encompasses the physical and emotional damages that are a result of the accident. To elaborate further, “pain” would include bruises, a broken arm, fractured rib, etc, while “suffering” would be the emotional fallout resulting from those injuries, emotional and mental injuries would be one way to understand “suffering.” These emotional injuries would include feelings such as depression, grief, anxiety, and even fear to name a few.
The damages recovered from pain and suffering vary from small to exceptionally large, so how does a dollar amount get attributed to pain and suffering? Typically, a jury or judge will be looking at these key aspects of the case:
How severe was the pain? Some injuries such as concussions, burns, torn muscles, and more can cause severe and excruciating pain both at the time of injury and for months, years, or even run the length of a lifetime.
- How long did the pain last?How long did/will the pain last? Was there lasting damage?
- Was there psychological pain? Some injuries and accidents can cause psychological pain, to yourself and others. Feelings such as stress, anxiety, depression, post traumatic stress disorder, to name a few psychological ramifications of injury.
- Was there emotional pain? Some injuries can dramatically alter your physical ability, or your physical appearance. Whether changing your mobility, or your level of comfort performing daily activities such as going to school, work, or even walking into a convenience stores. Injuries with this level of severity can leave lasting emotional pain.
- What is the age of the victim? The age of the victim matters in terms of the severity and longevity of the injury. Young children who are seriously injured can have years of their lives altered, while a minor injury for someone in their mid twenties could have devastating results for an elderly person. Age is another factor when measuring the damages of pain and suffering.
- How much were the medical expenses incurred? In less severe cases the dollar value of the medical expenses is used as the core measurement for pain and suffering, Juries will see the dollar amount, say $12,000 and will use the $12,000 as a financial reference point for rewarding additional damages for pain and suffering.
If you or someone you know has been injured, it is essential to have a personal injury attorney who can aid you in navigating the nuances of not only “pain and suffering” but multitude of parts that make up a strong personal injury case. Skilled Plymouth County injury lawyer Michael S. Mehrmann has spent many years effectively representing people from across Plymouth County, including Kingston, Plymouth, Marshfield, Hanson, Carver, Pembroke, and Duxbury in their personal injury cases. To find out more about how we can help you, call (781) 585-3911 or contact us online.