What is Pain and Suffering?

Pain and suffering is an element of damages that an injured person seeks from the person causing the injury. Pain and suffering is usually not available in breach of contract cases, disability cases, or property insurance cases.

You know all too well that pain and suffering is part of the aftermath of an injury. Legally, though, "pain and suffering" describes the physical pain and emotional distress a victim endures as a result of a personal injury accident. Emotional distress (also called "mental anguish") can include depression, anxiety, insomnia, irritability, and more. Compensation for pain and suffering is more than money for physical ailments—it also entails mental and emotional pain. It is also above and beyond you actual money damages (like your lost wages, medical bills, etc.).
You may be eligible for compensation for pain and suffering if you have:
  • Grief
  • Worry
  • Insomnia
  • The loss of enjoyment of life

What Kinds of Things Does "Pain and Suffering" Include?

When we say "pain and suffering," we're talking about a variety of ways that an accident can affect your life. Pain and suffering is a type of non-economic loss. Non-economic losses are intangible— and not clearly enumerated.
You can recover pain and suffering damages for:
  • Past and Future Pain and Suffering – This includes any past and future physical pain, mental anguish, discomfort, inconvenience, and stress.
  • Embarrassment and Humiliation – This covers anything caused by the accident that could leave the victim feeling ashamed of their injuries, such as burns, paralysis, and amputation.
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life – This compensation is for victims who have lost enjoyment of the pleasures of life due to the accident.
  • Disfigurement – This represents any scars or permanent damage caused by an accident or the surgery necessary to treat the car accident injuries.
  • Loss of Consortium— The spouse of an injured victim can receive money for what is known as Loss of Consortium, which means that they've lost companionship and the ability to be close to their husband or wife.

How is pain and suffering compensation calculated?

It's difficult to calculate how much a pain and suffering claim could potentially be worth because no two accidents or injuries are the same—and they can affect each person differently.
The amount of money a person is able to recover for pain and suffering is most dependent on the evidence presented during your case, like testimony from medical experts, copies of medical bills, etc.
When the insurance company or a judge or jury evaluates your case, they consider all evidence along with information such as:
  • Your age
  • The type of injury you suffered
  • And how your injury affects your life—including how it has impacted your ability to socialize, enjoy hobbies, and complete household chores and other everyday activities.

At the end of the day, if you are like most people, there's nothing you wouldn't give to have your old, pre-injury life back again. Unfortunately, we cannot unwind the clock.  Compensation for pain and suffering, however, attempts to make up for the many hardships you have to endure.

This is something we consider in every case and in advising you on an acceptable settlement or demand amount, both before and during litigation.

We hope this helps you understand how these damages are considered in your case.  If you have any questions, please give us a call at 985-240-9773.

Loyd J. Bourgeois
Connect with me
Accident, injury, and disability lawyer serving Luling, Metairie, New Orleans, and South Louisiana