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Pain and Suffering Examples

Pain and suffering is a legal term for the physical and emotional stress caused from an injury. Examples include aches, limitations on activity, shortening of life, depression and scarring.
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

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How Is Pain and Suffering Determined?

When a person is involved in an accident, their first thought is about their well-being and how the accident affected their life. They are not immediately thinking about their medical bills, so the value of pain and suffering damages is greater than the value of their economic damages (medical bills and loss of income).

The person in the accident might have low medical bills but miss out on a wedding, and the value of that experience is priceless. The amount a jury finds the person would accept to miss the wedding is the value of that portion of the total pain and suffering damages.

Is Emotional Distress the Same Thing as Pain and Suffering?

Emotional distress falls under pain and suffering damages, but it is not the same thing. Emotional distress typically occurs when the victim of an accident witnesses someone else suffer a traumatic injury or death, or they themselves suffer a traumatic injury.

If a physician has diagnosed emotional distress as part of the injuries you experienced in an accident, you may be able to recover compensation as part of the pain and suffering damages in a personal injury case.

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What Is Mental Anguish?

Mental anguish refers to a high degree of mental pain and suffering one party inflicts upon another. The term is often used interchangeably with emotional distress in personal injury cases. Infliction of emotional distress very often is accompanied by physical trauma and injury.

Proving Mental Anguish

Judges and juries typically have an easier time believing psychological suffering if it is accompanied by physical pain. To recover compensation for both physical and mental anguish, your lawyer can use this to your advantage.

In certain cases, it is possible to have mental anguish despite avoiding serious physical injuries. The best ways to prove mental anguish include:

  • Personal Testimony
  • Expert testimony
  • Your medical records

How Much Can You Get Out of Pain and Suffering?

Insurance adjusters typically offer ½ to 1 times your economic damages (medical bills, loss of income) to compensate for pain and suffering. For example, if your economic damages equal $10,000, insurers will usually offer up to $5,000-$10,000 for your pain and suffering.

Related Article: How Much Can I Get for Pain and Suffering in an IVC Filter Case?

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