What is Compensation for "Pain and Suffering?"
What Is Pain and Suffering?
If you've been seriously injured in an accident, you know all too well that "pain and suffering" is part of the aftermath. In fact, a key element of most personal injury cases is "pain and suffering".
Injury victims often wonder, "Can I sue for pain and suffering?" Unfortunately, determining whether you are eligible for this type of legal compensation—and figuring out how much you can sue for "pain and suffering' —is complicated.
That's because compensation for pain and suffering is more than money for physical ailments—it also entails mental and emotional pain.
Pain can be divided into two categories: physical pain and emotional pain. In Pennsylvania, an accident victim may be compensated for the pain and suffering they have already endured, as well as the pain and suffering they may experience in the future.
Physical Pain and Suffering
Each accident is different, and some accidents cause significant physical pain. Physical “pain and suffering” may include:
- A broken bone
- Loss of limb
- Muscle pain and weakness
Emotional Pain and Suffering
Emotional "pain and suffering" is often associated with a physical injury. Emotional pain and suffering may include:
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
- Embarrassment and humiliation
How Does Pain and Suffering Differ From Other Damages?
In a personal injury case, pain and suffering damages differ from other types of damages because they are non-economic in nature. This means that "pain and suffering" compensation is not intended to compensate for a specific monetary loss, such as a medical bill and lost wages.
Because damages for “pain and suffering” are subjective and can be extremely different in each case, settlements and jury verdicts for these damages can be unpredictable.
What types of damages can lead to a lawsuit?
When we say "pain and suffering," we're talking about a variety of ways that an accident can affect your life. In Pennsylvania, people who suffer serious injuries can sue for two types of damages: economic and non-economic.
Economic losses are those that have an actual price tag, and include:
- Medical costs (bills from doctors, ambulance rides, emergency room visits)
- Wheelchairs, prostheses, and handicap-accessible vehicles
- The amount of your lost wages—for both missed work, and for future loss of income if you are never able to return to work.
- Increased cost of living
Under Pennsylvania law, accident victims may also recover compensation what's known as non-economic loss. Pain and suffering is a non-economic damage because there is no dollar amount assigned to this damage you are presenting. Non-economic losses are intangible—costs that can't be clearly enumerated.
Under full tort coverage on your auto insurance, you can sue in Pennsylvania for "pain and suffering" non-economic losses including:
- Past and Future Pain and Suffering – This includes any past and future physical pain, mental anguish, discomfort, inconvenience, and stress.
- Embarrassment and Humiliation – This covers anything caused by the accident that could leave the victim feeling ashamed of their injuries, such as burns, paralysis, and amputation.
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life – This compensation is for victims who have lost enjoyment of the pleasures of life due to the accident.
- Disfigurement – This represents any scars or permanent damage caused by an accident or the surgery necessary to treat the car accident injuries.
- Loss of Consortium— The spouse of an injured victim can receive money for what is known as Loss of Consortium, which means that they've lost companionship and the ability to be close to their husband or wife.
How Compensation for Pain and Suffering is Calculated?
It's difficult to calculate how much a pain and suffering claim could potentially be worth because no two accidents or injuries are the same—and they can affect each person differently.
The amount of money a person is able to recover for pain and suffering is most dependent on the evidence presented during your case, like testimony from medical experts, copies of medical bills, etc. When a judge or jury evaluates your case, they will consider that evidence along with information such as:
- Your age
- The type of injury you suffered
- And how your injury affects your life—including how it has impacted your ability to socialize, enjoy hobbies, and complete household chores and other everyday activities.
Hiring an Attorney to Recover Damages for Pain and Suffering
Any accident victim will tell you there's nothing they wouldn't give to have their old life back again. Compensation for pain and suffering, however, attempts to make up for the many hardships injury victims endure.
It's important for injury victims to understand that there are deadlines to file personal injury claims. To be eligible for pain and suffering, legal claims must be filed within two years of the accident—or within two years of the discovery of the associated injuries.
Personal injury claims involving pain and suffering demands are complex, so call us today for a free case review. We'll discuss the nature of the injury you or a loved one suffered, let you know if you have a case, and if you do, what the next steps will be.
Don't delay: Call us now. We've helped over 75,000 injury victims over the past three decades—we can help you, too.