What Exactly is Pain and Suffering?

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Everyone has heard of “pain and suffering” as a result of a personal injury and in personal injury lawsuits, but what that term actually refers to can be rather unclear. There are essentially two types of pain and suffering and both of them cover the initial pain and suffering and any that is experienced in the future because of the injury.

Physical Pain
The obvious part of pain and suffering is the physical duress suffered by the injured person. This is caused by the initial physical injury. This includes pain and suffering that happens at the time of the accident and any residual pain in the future. An example of this is a person sustaining injuries in a motorcycle accident like road rash and broken bones. The pain caused by these injuries — at the time they happen, while they are healing, and any residual bodily pain — is what physical pain refers to.

Mental Pain
Mental pain is also a part of pain and suffering. This might involve anger or anxiety that a person suffers as the result of an accident. In the case of the motorcycle accident, the injured person may even suffer from post traumatic stress disorder which can affect his or her quality of life and ability to work. Injured people can get compensation for things related to their pain and suffering, for example lost wages if their mental state keeps them from being able to work.

How Pain and Suffering is Quantified
Pain and suffering can seem to be a difficult thing to quantify since no one can put a number on it: “Injured Person experienced ‘this many’ pain and sufferings”. Typically what happens in court is that the judge leaves it up to the jury to determine what the damage awards for pain and suffering should be. In some cases, what is referred to as a “multiplier” is used, which is usually based on the amount of medical bills and lost wages that the injured has.

Do you have any questions about pain and suffering? Feel free to let us know in the comments. For more about this, go here.

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