What is Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury Claim?
The majority of personal injury cases address pain and suffering, and you might be wondering exactly what pain and suffering entail. In a nutshell, they are the noneconomic damages in a personal injury claim. Two kinds of pain and suffering exist: mental and physical.
Mental Pain and Suffering
Mental pain and suffering refer to negative emotions or psychological difficulties which were caused by an injury. Most often, mental pain and suffering is a byproduct of the suffering experienced from the physical pain.
Some of the symptoms may include:
- Emotional distress
- Fear and anger
- Loss of enjoyment
- Sleep disorders
- Mental anguish
- PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
- Mood swings
Physical Pain and Suffering
Any physical injury, both current and long-term, with physical effects that could be experienced in the future as a result of an injury would be classified under pain and suffering. Some of the symptoms associated with physical pain and suffering can include:
- Broken bones
- Aches and pains
The Connection Between Mental and Physical Pain and Suffering
Mental and physical pain are closely connected. For example, a physical injury commonly leads to psychological concerns, including anxiety, insomnia, or PTSD. The person that was injured will sometimes need the help of a psychologist or therapist to manage these mental problems.
When these problems result from an accident or incident, the person could be entitled to damages for their pain and suffering, both physical and psychological.
Determining the Severity of Pain and Suffering
Since pain and suffering are subjective, it can be difficult to determine its severity. Some of the factors that are most commonly taken into consideration include:
- Type of sustained injury or injuries
- Severity and duration of emotional or physical suffering
- Potential future problems caused by the injury or injuries
To determine the severity of pain and suffering, individual circumstances are taken into consideration. For example, a hand injury would be inconvenient for an accountant, but for a surgeon, that same injury could cause more emotional suffering, as it could potentially be a career-ending injury.
How Pain and Suffering is Proven
Evidence must be presented by a lawyer showing that the client is physically or mentally suffering. Evidence can include the expert testimony of a therapist, therapy appointment records or medical records supporting the claims.
From a legal standpoint, it’s not enough for the injured party to show that they have received pain and suffering. The plaintiff must be able to demonstrate that the defendant was responsible in not inducing such harm, and they breached that agreement, causing the victim injury, pain and, suffering.