What Are Pain and Suffering Damages?

If you’ve ever brought a lawsuit or known someone who did, chances are high that you’ve heard of the term “pain and suffering damages.” Although some people assume that these damages are always for frivolous, subjective claims, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Pain and suffering damages (also known as non-economic damages) are a special form of compensation that is awarded when the plaintiff has endured significant physical, emotional, and mental discomfort because of someone else’s negligence.

Unlike standard compensatory damages, non-economic damages are not necessarily intended to cover medical bills, treatments, or lost wages. Rather, this form of recovery allows victims to have peace of mind about their financial future, especially when they are adjusting to new disabilities and other life-altering conditions from their accident.

There are two primary forms of pain and suffering that the court will consider in a personal injury case:

  • Mental anguish: Mental pain and suffering damages are awarded when the claimant has suffered extraordinary damage to their mental health after an incident. From the shock and horror of a limb amputation to humiliation from intentional abuse, mental anguish can encompass a wide range of traumas and real conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Physical pain and suffering: Although physical pain is more subjective than the cost of an injury, chronic pain can still wreak havoc on your day-to-day life, and extend the effects of an accident for decades. If your accident caused extreme, unbearable pain that no human being should ever have to endure, you have the right to seek pain and suffering damages.

When Am I Eligible for Pain and Suffering Damages?

Any time that you are eligible to file a personal injury claim, you can decide to pursue pain and suffering damages too. While there are no caps on this form of recovery in California (with the exception of medical malpractice cases and some cases involving criminal activity), the amount you can claim will depend greatly on the nature of your accident and the extent of your injuries.

There’s also no hard and fast rule on how non-economic damages are calculated. Some insurance claim adjusters use proprietary algorithms to generate an estimate that matches with your accident and injuries; plaintiffs’ attorneys often use a method that involves multiplying compensatory damages by a factor of 1 to 5, depending on the severity of the case. No matter if you’re working with insurance adjusters or figuring out the right number with your attorney, however, you are perfectly within your rights to ask for this form of compensation.

35 Years of Fighting for Injury Victims

At Tedford & Associates, our seasoned injury team in Pasadena can provide the compassionate and thoughtful legal representation that you deserve. Bringing over 35 years of experience to your case, we’re committed to making sure that each client has the chance to maximize their recovery. We understand that you’ve been through a traumatic experience, and it’s our goal to make you feel less alone as you fight for your rights.

Call (626) 325-0142 today for assistance from our legal team!


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