What is 'Pain and Suffering' in a Personal Injury Case?
Although the term “pain and suffering” is widely popular, the majority of people may not fully understand the implication of the term in regards to personal injury lawsuits. Pain and suffering is divided into two distinct types including mental pain and suffering and physical pain and suffering. In the case of mental pain and suffering, conditions such as high levels of emotional distress, depression, anxiety, anger, and humiliation, as well as other such conditions. These stresses are often a result of the physical injuries sustained by the victim as a result of a physical accident and resulting injury.
On the other hand, physical pain and suffering is considered to be the actual physical injury sustained by the victim as a result of an accident. Therefore, as a court considers a plaintiff’s physical pain and suffering, they may also consider the future negative implications of their injuries on their lives and occupation. The resulting mental effects of these physical injuries include ailments such as loss of sleep, sexual dysfunction, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Types of Pain and Suffering
Physical pain and suffering sustained from an automobile accident can be extremely severe and include injuries such as severe concussion of the brain as well as broken bones and possible internal bleeding. As a direct result of these extremely severe injuries, a victim may have trouble sleeping or even fall into depression as well as having to live with the constant pain from their physical injuries.
This can result in a victim having to take time off of their job and possibly lose wages. Because of this, the victim will be entitled to compensation for both physical pain and suffering as well as mental pain and suffering.
Juries normally do not have many strictly set guidelines for placing a monetary value on a plaintiff’s pain and suffering. During a personal injury lawsuit, most state judges simply guide the people of the jury to use their own common sense and experience in determining what would be a fair and reasonable award as compensation for the victim’s pain and suffering.
Sometimes, juries may use what is called a multiplier (a number multiplied by the total amount of the plaintiff’s lost wages and medical costs) to determine what would be a fair compensation. This number is normally considered to be roughly between 1.5 and 4 although this method is not always used and does not apply to most cases with larger amounts of damages.
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