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What are 'pain and suffering' damages?

You often hear the term “pain and suffering” when it comes to personal injury damages. But, do you know what it actually means?

Separate from economic damages, which often include medical bills and lost wages, courts will often award pain and suffering damages in a personal injury lawsuit. These damages provide monetary compensation for the physical and mental anguish a person suffers following an injury.

Types of physical and mental pain

Physical pain involves the physical damage to a person’s body following an injury. For example, a person who experiences intense aching in his or her back following a rear-end collision could likely file a claim for pain and suffering damages.

Similarly, mental pain is also a type of injury included in pain and suffering. Mental pain constitutes emotional anguish following an accident, such as shock, anger, sadness, fear, stress, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, lack of appetite and mood swings. In some cases, injury victims can even experience depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

How are pain and suffering damages calculated?

Unfortunately, determining an appropriate monetary amount for pain and suffering damages can be complicated, because there is no way to put an accurate number on an injury in New Jersey, juries are given wide discretion to determine pain and suffering damages, while lawyers are prohibited from suggesting amounts to juries.

Experienced attorneys use various factors to place a “value” on a case for settlement purposes:

  1. The type and severity of the injury
  2. The age of the injured person
  3. Permanence of the injury

Determining pain and suffering damages can be complex. If you or someone you love sustains an injury, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to fight for the compensation you deserve.

 

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