What Type of Damages Are Awarded for Pain and Suffering?
Car accident lawsuits often result in substantial compensation for “pain and suffering.” These non-economic losses are different than medical bill reimbursement and repayment for lost time off work, which are more easily calculated. If you’re not a personal injury lawyer, you may be wondering what types of damages are included under this vague term.
What is ‘pain and suffering?’
You may hear “pain and suffering” as a unitary concept to describe not only physical pain, but mental suffering like grief, nervousness, fright, shock, humiliation, indignity, embarrassment, terror, apprehension, anxiety, and ordeal. Admittedly, these terms are subjective, according to the California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI 3905A), but the detriment is a genuine one deserving of compensation – an issue that must be resolved by the “impartial conscience and judgment of jurors who may be expected to act reasonably, intelligently, and in harmony with the evidence.”
However, when the term is explored separately by the courts, jurors look at two types of pain and suffering damages: physical pain and mental suffering.
What damages are awarded for physical pain in a lawsuit?
“Pain” refers to the physical agony you experience from your car accident injuries. It may include current discomfort and the likely ongoing and future effects as well. Physical pain is generally awarded in cases where accident victims have “severe” injuries like: broken bones, dismemberment, disfigurement, loss of fetus, permanent loss of a body organ or system, permanent limitation of a body organ or system, significant impairment to daily life for at least 90 days.
The courts look at the amount of pain and discomfort typically associated with those injuries, the impact of those injuries on your sports/hobbies/relationships, the nature and scope of your medical treatment, the timeline for recovery, and whether you will need surgery, pain medication, or rehabilitation services as part of your healing.
To determine the amount of physical pain suffered, the court considers:
What damages are awarded for mental suffering in a lawsuit?
Mental “suffering” refers to the negative emotions, mental anguish, and psychological trauma that accompanies a physical injury. Mental suffering can be verified by statements from counselors, psychologists, or psychiatrists; prescription medication records; appointment schedules with mental health practitioners; and statements from family members, friends, or coworkers that verify changes in behavior, demeanor, personality, or productivity following the accident. A personal injury lawyer can be very helpful in gathering evidence to prove the unseen side effects of your physical car accident injuries.
Examples of mental suffering include documented mental health conditions:
Contact a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer at Salamati Law for a free case review to learn more about including pain and suffering damages along with your personal injury claim. For more than 20 years, we’ve developed a proven track record of six-figure car accident settlements and jury awards. You only pay us if we win money on your behalf.