Pain and suffering damages are a type of legal remedy issued in connection with many personal injury claims. They are intended to reimburse the victim for losses connected with their injury. The term “pain and suffering” is somewhat broad and can be difficult to define. It may include:
- Neck or joint pain from whiplash and other types of car accident injuries
- Nerve damage from a faulty surgical procedure
- Emotional conditions resulting from trauma
- Grief over the loss of a loved one
Proving pain and suffering sometimes requires the testimony of an expert medical witness or a psychological expert. The laws governing pain and suffering damages may vary according to jurisdiction.
Generally speaking, the more that the pain and suffering is related to the injury, the better the chances are that the plaintiff will recover damages. In some cases, pain and suffering damages are included in the overall calculation of general damages issued to the victim. In other cases, pain and suffering may be included in “compensatory damages” to compensate for the victim’s losses (such as medical expenses or lost wages).
Pain and suffering damages generally need to be real and not imaginary, especially for damage awards that cover the emotional “suffering” aspect. Pain or suffering leading to additional physical injury is more likely to result in a damages award.
Also, many states impose limits on damages for pain and suffering claims.
When filing a lawsuit that involves pain and suffering damages, you may wish to follow these guidelines:
- Try to be as specific as possible when presenting your condition- vague conditions that can’t be proven will not result in a damages award
- Make a log of your injuries before and after the incident- this will help to determine how your pain and suffering is related to incident, whether it be a car accident, slip and fall case, or other type of personal injury
- Keep all written legal documents, such as police reports, medical receipts and bills, wage stumps, and other documents that can be used as evidence
Pain and suffering damages are only issued under very specific circumstances. It is in your best interest to hire lawyer if you need help filing a lawsuit for any personal injury matters. Your attorney can represent you in court and can provide the legal expertise needed when proving damages. Also, your personal injury attorney can assist you in the event that you need to file any motions regarding your damages award.