Pain and Suffering: Legal Definition

Pain and suffering refer to the physical pain and emotional distress a person experiences after an injury. Pain and suffering is a type of compensatory damage recoverable in a personal injury case.

Elements of Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering can produce a variety of emotions that may include:

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fear
  • Inconvenience
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

Depending on the circumstances of the event that caused the pain and suffering, the person who suffered a personal injury may require treatment from a mental health professional. Physical pain from a personal injury can range from minor discomfort to chronic pain that is so debilitating that it affects a person’s ability to carry out daily functions.

Pain and Suffering as Damages in a Personal Injury Case

Pain and suffering are considered non-economic damages and are not as easy to calculate as economic damages which have exact dollar amounts. In addition, receipts or bills are helpful in calculating economic damages in a personal injury case. How, though, do you place an economic value on physical pain and emotional distress?

Since non-economic damages do not have exact dollar amounts, insurance companies use different methods to calculate pain and suffering and thus a claimant may find it beneficial to seek advice from a personal injury lawyer. A lawyer knows how to estimate the value of non-economic damages and can help determine the fair amount of compensation owed for pain and suffering.

Proving Pain and Suffering

An insurer may want proof of pain and suffering before awarding compensation in a personal injury case. Proving pain and suffering may require a personal injury victim to gather such evidence as:

  • A statement about how the injury has impacted her life
  • Statements from the victim’s family and friends on how the victim has changed since the personal injury
  • Statements from mental health or medical professionals who are treating the personal injury victim
  • The victim’s medical records

Documentation and other solid evidence that details a person’s pain and suffering can strengthen a personal injury case.

Compensation for Pain and Suffering

A personal injury victim can file an insurance claim or lawsuit for compensation for economic and non-economic damages, which include pain and suffering.

If an insurance company denies the claim or does not offer a fair settlement, the personal injury victim may file a lawsuit and request a trial. If the case goes to trial, a jury will decide on the compensation amount for pain and suffering and other damages.

Contact the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC

If you suffered a personal injury, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost income, and other damages. We can help you file a claim or civil lawsuit. Call us today at 865-546-1111 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.