Pain and Suffering Damages
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What Are Pain and Suffering Damages?
Pain and suffering damages are awarded in some personal injury cases. They are intended to reimburse the plaintiff for losses associated with physical pain and/or emotional trauma caused by a defendant. Pain and suffering can include issues like:
- Physical pain resulting from an injury (such as back pain caused by a car accident)
- Emotional trauma resulting from loss or grief
- Psychological damage resulting from a particularly stressful event
In many cases, pain and suffering is not exactly meant to cover losses associated with costs such as hospital bills or therapy expenses. Instead, pain and suffering is a separate damages award that is calculated according to a variety of factors.
Are There Any Limits on Pain and Suffering Damages?
In many cases, pain and suffering can be difficult to define, and even more difficult to measure. There have been many instances where the plaintiff suggests a very high amount for their pain and suffering damages. In response, many jurisdictions enforce limits on pain and suffering damages. In most cases, this is limited in relation to the overall compensatory damages award.
In other instances, states may simply place a hard limit or cap to the total amount of pain and suffering damages that can be awarded in any lawsuit. For instance, the state of California generally places a limit of $250,000 for pain and suffering, whereas New Hampshire has a limit as high as $875,000. This can be subject to change over time, and will vary according to state.
What Is Phantom Pain?
A common type of pain and suffering award is one that is issued in order to address phantom pain. Phantom pain occurs when a limb, organ, or body part is removed or amputated through surgery. While the patient’s limb is no longer present, they may still experience pain or discomfort in the area where the limb used to be. This is known as phantom pain.
Some courts may issue pain and suffering for phantom pain. This can often happen well after the original incident occurred. As such, the assistance of a medical witness may be needed when proving phantom pain damages.
Like many other pain and suffering damages awards, the monetary amount issued for phantom pain can be very high. In some cases, a pain and suffering damages settlement may be necessary to ensure that an agreement is reached which will be fair for both the plaintiff and the defendant.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with Pain and Suffering Damages?
Pain and suffering damages can sometimes be difficult to prove, and they can be complicated when it comes to calculating amounts. You may need to hire a lawyer for assistance with pain and suffering damages. Your attorney can advise you on how to present your requests to the court. Also, your lawyer can be on hand in order to assist and represent you during court hearings.
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Last Modified: 08-24-2015 10:23 AM PDT
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