In law shows and news broadcasts, the phrase “pain and suffering” is frequently thrown around. It is often portrayed as an “add-on” to the objectively quantifiable medical bills and lost wages from an accident. However, pain and suffering is a very real factor in personal injury cases. From a legal standpoint, your pain and suffering refer to any distress (physical or mental) that results from an injury. This can range from broken bones to pain, mental disorders resulting from the accident, potential shortening of life, and more.
It is important to remember in a personal injury case that “pain and suffering” is a class of damages on its own, referred to as “general damages.” This is distinct from the “special damages” you are owed including medical bills and lost wages.
General Damages vs. Special Damages
It is important to understand the distinction between special damages and general damages. Special damages are objective, and can be easily quantified. The most obvious special damage that arises from a personal injury case are the resulting medical bills. If the injury caused you to miss work, you could also claim lost wages resulting from the incident. Costs to repair a vehicle or other personal property damaged as a consequence of the accident can also be considered special damage.
What about general damages? This is where pain and suffering come in. The dollar value of that pain is highly subjective. One person may feel greater pain than another given the same injury. Furthermore, while one individual may endure severe trauma resulting from the accident, another could have almost no mental scarring at all. Since general damages are subjective, attorneys will sometimes compare similar cases in the area to establish precedent and determine how much you should be rewarded. More often, one of two primary methods will be used to calculate the dollar value of your pain and suffering.
When pursuing a personal injury case, you should not neglect your pain and suffering. The scars, limp, or any other pain or disfigurement you bear serve as a constant reminder of how the negligence of another impacted you. This suffering deserves financial compensation. If you have been injured in an accident, discuss the matter with a qualified personal injury attorney. They will review your case and get you the compensation you deserve.