Pain and Suffering – What is Included?

In car, truck, and pedestrian accidents, physical pain often accompanies the physical injuries sustained. The law is clear – if you’ve sustained pain and suffering arising from an injury caused someone else, you are entitled to recover for your pain and suffering from the person causing injury.  Emotional responses to pain, as well as the actual physical pain, are considered recoverable general damages.

What is the Difference Between Pain and Suffering?

Courts generally have not attempted to draw distinctions between the elements of “pain,” on the one hand, and “suffering” on the other. Rather, “pain and suffering” are typically used together and include not only physical pain, but suffering for fright, nervousness, grief, anxiety, worry, mortification, shock, humiliation, indignity, embarrassment, apprehension, terror, or ordeal.

“Pain and suffering” can also include disfigurement and deformity, impairment of ability to work or labor, anxiety or worry attributable to an injury, and mental distress caused by impairment of the enjoyment of life.

Additionally, pain and suffering may include the phantom pain suffered by a paraplegic who is instantly paralyzed from the waist down.

Determining Damages for Pain and Suffering

There is no set formula for calculating pain and suffering.  At trial, it is up to the jury to calculate damages for this component.  Juries may consider many factors in determining pain and suffering awards.

However, one formula that is often argued at trial is the “multiplier” method for calculating pain and suffering.  Under this method, attorneys argue that pain and suffering should be equal to some multiple of medical bills and other expenses incurred by the injured victim (such as lost wages).

As an example, if the injured victim suffers $8,000 in medical expenses and $2,000 in lost wages, these damages amount to $10,000.  That person’s attorney may argue that the injured victim should be entitled to an additional amount for pain and suffering equal to four times these damages; or $40,000.  If the jury agrees, that person would receive $10,000 plus $40,000, or $50,000 total.

If You’ve Been Injured and Want to Learn More About the Damages That You May be Entitled to Receive, Please Call Us

There is no fee to us unless and until we recover damages for you.  Once we meet with you, we can explain to you about the legal process for recovering for your injuries, and can answer any questions that you might have about how pain and suffering are determined.

If you hire me and my firm, you can rest assured that we will do our utmost to recover for you all compensation to which you may be entitled from those responsible for your injuries and damages.


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