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Understanding Damages for Pain and Suffering

Pain and SufferingIf you’ve been injured because of the careless or negligent act of another person, you’ll have the right so seek damages for all your losses, from wages and income to unreimbursed medical expenses to loss of enjoyment of things that have given your life meaning. You are also entitled to seek compensation for pain and suffering. In this blog, we look at what that means and how damages for pain and suffering are customarily determined.

What Is “Pain and Suffering”?

Under the law, there are generally two types of pain and suffering that are compensable in a personal injury lawsuit: physical pain and suffering and emotional/mental pain and suffering.

Physical pain and suffering refers to any pain, discomfort or physical limitations resulting as a consequence of the injury. The nerve responses caused by a broken bone, a laceration, a contusion or a muscle pull are all types of physical pain and suffering. However, scarring that limits movement or other injuries that cause vertigo or other physical consequences also constitute physical pain and suffering.

Mental pain and suffering, on the other hand, is often a by-product of physical pain, but need not be. It includes a wide range of psychological or mental responses to an accident, including depression, anxiety, fear, anger, shock, humiliation and emotional distress. That mental suffering may result from the physical injuries sustained, or it may be a consequence of the trauma of having been in an accident.

How Is Pain and Suffering Calculated?

As a general rule, there’s little concrete guidance for juries to determine the value of damages for “pain and suffering.” While many courts will encourage juries to use common sense and experience when assessing damages for pain and suffering, others will use what is known as a “multiplier,” taking the amount of special damages (those that can be accurately calculated, such as lost wages and medical expenses) and multiplying that amount by a specific number. There is precedent in New Jersey for such an approach, but it varies from court to court.

Contact Attorney Howard D. Popper

To learn your options when you have been injured in the workplace, contact our office online or call attorney Popper at 973-993-8787. We have offices in Morristown and Newton, but will come to your home or the hospital, if necessary. There is no charge for your first consultation.

We handle all workers’ compensation claims on a contingency basis. You won’t be charged any legal fees unless attorney Popper recovers compensation for your losses.