What Is ‘Pain and Suffering’ in a Personal Injury Case?

Personal injury cases may result from numerous accidents or other incidents that cause injury. Motor vehicle accidents and falls are common accidents that cause injuries. However, a person may also file a personal injury claim for medical malpractice, defective products, and dog bites. A New Jersey personal injury attorney can help you file a claim seeking compensation for damages if another party injured you.

What Are Damages in a Personal Injury Case?

Damages include the financial losses (economic damages) you incur because of the accident and your injuries. These damages include the cost of your medical care, physical therapy, medications, lost income, and other out-of-pocket expenses. 

Damages in a personal injury case also include the pain and suffering (non-economic damages) caused by your injuries or the accident. Pain and suffering damages may include:

  • Physical discomfort and pain
  • Mental anguish and trauma
  • Emotional distress and psychological injuries (i.e., PTSD, depression, anxiety, etc.)
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Disabilities and permanent impairments
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Decreased quality of life

The emotional and mental suffering you experience after an injury can be as debilitating as the physical injuries you sustain in the accident. For example, clinical depression and PTSD could prevent you from working or returning to your ordinary activities.

You deserve compensation for pain and suffering. However, placing a value on someone’s pain and suffering can be challenging.

How Are Pain and Suffering Valued in a Personal Injury Case?

Economic damages are easier to value because you have a specific monetary value for financial losses. However, pain and suffering damages do not have a specific value. There is not a standard formula for calculating pain and suffering. Several factors impact the value of your non-economic damages.

The Severity and Type of Your Injuries

It is assumed that catastrophic injuries cause more pain and suffering. Therefore, the type and severity of your injuries impact the value of your pain and suffering damages. For example, a broken leg may result in a higher value for pain and suffering than a sprained ankle.

If you sustain permanent disabilities, the value of pain and suffering damages also increases. 

The Total of Your Economic Losses

Your total economic losses can impact the value of your non-economic damages. One way of valuing pain and suffering is to use a multiplier to calculate the total value. A multiplier is a number from 1.5 through 5. That number is multiplied by the total economic damages to value pain and suffering. 

The facts of the case determine the value of the multiplier. If you sustain a permanent impairment or severe scarring, the value of the multiplier increases. If you develop PTSD or clinical depression, the value of the multiplier may increase. Cases involving severe disfigurement also increase the multiplier. 

Comparative Fault Allegations 

If you are partially to blame for the cause of your injury, the amount of your compensation may decrease under New Jersey’s comparative fault laws. 

The value of your damages, including pain and suffering, is reduced by the percentage of your fault. If your percentage of fault is 51 percent or higher, you do not receive anything for your personal injury claim.

Contact Our New Jersey Personal Injury Attorney for a Free Case Review

Many factors impact the value of a personal injury case. Before you accept a settlement offer, talk with our New Jersey personal injury attorney free of charge. Make sure that the insurance company is offering a fair amount to settle your injury claim.