Pain and Suffering in Personal Injury Litigation

Individuals who suffer personal injury in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence are often primarily interested in recovering compensation for economic damages such as medical bills and lost income from time off work. However, pain and suffering often take a longer-lasting toll on the physical and emotional health of accident victims.

Plaintiffs can recover compensation for pain and suffering as well. Read on for a basic understanding of this process and how personal injury attorneys can help.

Different Kinds of Pain and Suffering

In the process of personal injury litigation, the court will be expecting the plaintiff and their legal team to present information on what type of pain and suffering the victim has experienced. Typically, the courts recognize two main types of pain and suffering — physical pain and suffering and mental pain and suffering.

Physical pain and suffering includes the pain experienced by the plaintiff’s actual physical injuries they suffered as a result of the accident. Courts will look not only at the pain and discomfort the plaintiff is suffering at present time, but also the negative effects the victim is likely to experience in the future as a direct result of the defendant’s negligent behavior.

Compared to physical pain and suffering, mental pain and suffering is often less understood by prospective plaintiffs until they consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Mental pain and suffering includes things such as mental distress, emotional anguish, reduction in the enjoyment of one’s life, fear, anger, feeling humiliated, anxiety, and shock. Basically, mental pain and suffering includes all the emotional by-products stemming from the physical pain and trauma that an accident victim has suffered as a result of the defendant’s negligence. Like physical pain and suffering, mental pain and suffering includes not only the detrimental effects the victim is experiencing now, but also the mental anguish they are likely to suffer in the future.

Pain and Suffering: How Damages are Calculated

Prospective plaintiffs may be surprised to learn that the personal injury court system often lacks much structure or guidance for juries when being tasked with determining how much monetary compensation to award accident victims for their pain and suffering. Juries are often simply instructed to use their best judgment and experience to determine what would be an appropriate amount to award for pain and suffering if the plaintiff is eligible.

Some juries will use a multiplier to aid in determining a compensation amount for pain and suffering in personal injury cases, although this offers only a rough estimate that does not always apply to a case. When the multiplier method is used, it is typically between 1.5 to 4 times the amount of compensation awarded for total medical bills and lost earnings (often referred to as “economic damages”).

Other factors that may impact the value of damages for pain and suffering include the credibility of the plaintiff, the consistency of their testimony, and corroborating evidence from the plaintiff’s physician.

Professional Legal Counsel in Las Vegas

For years, the attorneys at H&P Law have been helping accident victims in Las Vegas and throughout Nevada as they navigate the legal process of recovering compensation for their pain and suffering. Contact H&P Law today to discuss your case.

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