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Pain & Suffering Damages: What You Need to Know

Goldstein Heslop Steele Clapper Oswalt & Smith Dec. 10, 2021

After an accident, you will most likely file a claim for compensation for your injuries. Often, this compensation covers your medical expenses, but you can also claim damages for “pain and suffering.” Just what constitutes pain and suffering, though? Learn what you need to know about these damages.

What Is Pain & Suffering?

Non-specific damages, such as those paid for pain and suffering, are intended to compensate accident victims for damages that are difficult to quantify. It is easy to total up your medical bills and request that amount of compensation, but it is likely that you have lost much more than the amount you’ve spent on your healthcare after the accident. Pain and suffering refer to the emotional and physical pain you’ve endured as you recovered from your accident. Pain and trauma can have a detrimental effect on many areas of our life, and may even cost you the ability to participate in activities the way you did before, or may decrease the enjoyment you find in your life.

Mental pain and suffering typically are applied to emotional trauma and its effects after an accident, such as:

  • Mental illnesses, including anxiety, depression, and PTSD

  • Mood changes

  • Panic attacks

  • Loss of appetite

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Lack of energy

  • Sexual dysfunction

  • Loss of enjoyment of life

  • Humiliation

  • Shock

How Are Pain & Suffering Damages Calculated?

Because pain and suffering are highly subjective, it can be difficult to calculate the value of these damages. There are not many guidelines to provide juries with advice when awarding nonspecific damages, which can result in unpredictable outcomes. Commonly, the factors that are considered include:

  • The credibility of the plaintiff.

  • The likability of the plaintiff.

  • The consistency of the plaintiff’s testimony.

  • Whether the plaintiff is exaggerating their injuries or suffering.

  • Supporting testimony from the plaintiff’s doctor.

  • Whether the jury suspects the plaintiff lied during the hearing.

  • The plaintiff’s diagnosis, injuries, and claims, and if they make sense in the context of the accident.

  • The plaintiff’s criminal record.

Sometimes, pain and suffering are calculated as a multiplier of the claimant’s medical bills and lost wages. If this occurs, the multiplier is usually between 1.5 and 4 times the amount of specific damages.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, you are entitled to the full amount of compensation you are owed. Our team at Goldstein, Heslop, Steele, Clapper, Oswalt, and Smith is committed to helping our injured clients pursue the compensation they deserve. Our Altoona personal injury lawyers offer personalized client service and we will aggressively pursue your best interests for your case.

Contact our offices to schedule a consultation today.