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What is Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury Case?

What is Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury Case?

What is Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury Case Explained

Personal Injury Lawyers in Philadelphia, PAAfter you have suffered personal injuries in an accident such as a slip and fall, motor vehicle crash, dog bite, or any other negligent incident, you may be entitled to “damages.” Under Pennsylvania law, “damages” is the measure of relief that a party to a lawsuit may be awarded. In personal injury cases, damages are usually monetary compensation. There are several different types of monetary compensation that a victim may be entitled to, with the largest generally being “pain and suffering.” Although most people have heard about “pain and suffering,” our personal injury attorneys in Philadelphia, PA, know that most people still have many questions about pain and suffering and how it applies.

And we have the answers. Here at Haggerty, Goldberg, Schleifer & Kupersmith, P.C., our bodily injury law firm has over 100 years of combined experience representing victims and their families after they have been injured in an accident. We know how important it is to recover the full amount of compensation that a victim and family may be entitled to, including pain and suffering. This is why we work with some of the leading medical and liability experts to help build, develop damages, and establish fault. If you or a loved one was seriously injured in any type of accident, learn more about how our experienced personal injury lawyers in Philadelphia, PA, can help you during a FREE consultation.

Types of Damages in a Personal Injury Case

Damages in a personal injury case are broken down into two forms.

Economic Damages

The first type is economic damages. These are damages that are calculable or reasonable calculable, estimated, or able to be proven by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not).

Some examples of economic damages include the following:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Lost future earnings (if unable to work the same job after an accident and must take a lower-paying job)
  • Nursing care
  • Prescription medications
  • Ambulatory equipment
  • Home or vehicle modifications, and
  • Other damages that have a distinct monetary value that can be determined by the court, whether through math or expert testimony.

Noneconomic Damages

The second form of damages is known as noneconomic damages. These are damages that cannot reasonably be calculated through math or formulas because they represent objective harm and—most commonly—subjective harm.

Some examples of nonecomonic damages include the following:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium (relationship, society, and affection between family members)
  • Emotional distress
  • Mental harm, and
  • Other damages that do not have an assigned money value but have intrinsic value.

What is Pain and Suffering?

Pain and suffering is a type of nonecomonic damage that cannot be calculated from a formula. Rather, pain and suffering as an award in a lawsuit that represents a victim’s mental anguish, agony, pain, injury, harm, and any other suffering that they have endured. This suffering can be from the actual injury or any time thereafter during recovery, surgeries, or the permanent pain that a victim may feel if an injury will not heal. Pain and suffering can be from physical pain or emotional suffering.

There are two types of pain and suffering. A victim may be awarded both in a lawsuit. The two types of pain and suffering are the following:

  • Past Pain and Suffering – this award is measured from the time of the accident causing the agony and pain to the time of a settlement, verdict, or award.
  • Future Pain and Suffering – this award is measured from the date of payment to the expected remaining life of a victim as determined by an actuary table.

How is Pain and Suffering Determined?

Pain and suffering is difficult to determine for many reasons:

  1. It is not measurable or quantifiable like lost wages.
  2. It is subjective, meaning that a victim only truly knows how it feels.
  3. Every person has different pain thresholds, affecting the true level of agony a person may feel.

Thus, pain and suffering does have an objective element to it based on what other juries or judges have awarded for similar injuries to similar victims. This is known as the reasonable compensation for an injury, and it can change based on many factors including:

  • County or geographic location of a lawsuit – cities tend to pay higher for injuries where the cost of living is higher, whereas rural hamlets tend to pay less for the same injuries because the cost of living is lower
  • Age of the victim
  • Comorbidities and other injuries or diseases that may affect daily happiness
  • Overall health of the victim and physical ability
  • Actual hardships and lifestyle changes (i.e., a hiker and outdoors person who can no longer hike due to an injury will have a greater diminished value of life compared to a sedentary person who can also no longer hike, but also didn’t hike in the first place)
  • Whether future surgeries are needed (i.e., hip replacements may only last 15-20 years and may need to be done again)
  • Scarring
  • Emotional and cognitive effect on a person
  • Gender (i.e., a scar on a woman’s face is typically worth more than on a man’s face)
  • Level of permanent injury or restriction, and
  • Other relevant factors.

Do You Still Have Questions About Pain and Suffering? We Can Answer Them At No-Cost to You

Our personal injury attorneys in Philadelphia offer FREE consultations to injury accident victims, with no obligation to sign up or pay us any upfront legal fees. We only get paid after you get paid, and only a percentage of what you get paid plus the costs and disbursements for your lawsuit—which we pay upfront for you and never ask for them back unless we win your case. Call to schedule your free consultations by dialing (267) 350 6600 or by sending us a message through our “contact us” box.