Filing a personal injury claim can be a complicated and stressful experience. You may not fully understand what type of compensation you’re entitled to and how much. In some states, monetary compensation for physical and mental pain and suffering is available. For victims, this feels fair and just. At Morgan & Morgan, we will do whatever we can to ensure you receive as much compensation as possible from your claim. We have been handling personal injury lawsuits for decades, and as the largest personal injury firm in America, we have the resources necessary to give you the best chance of success. Contact Morgan & Morgan today for a free consultation.
What Is Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering is a common term that is used when discussing personal injury lawsuits or any type of civil claim. If you were injured or harmed and as a result of someone’s negligence have experienced mental or physical pain and suffering, you may be entitled to recover monetary compensation. Any pain you experience as a result of the incident that is substantial could qualify you for pain and suffering compensation. So what is pain and suffering in a lawsuit?
Types of Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering might sound like a simple phrase, but when it comes to civil claims, it can be a bit more complicated than it sounds. There are typically two primary categories of pain and suffering: physical and mental/emotional.
Physical pain and suffering includes injuries to the body that cause pain and discomfort pain. In most cases, physical pain is visible on the plaintiff. For example, in car accidents, bruises and scrapes might be present. It’s also possible that a plaintiff will be in a cast due to broken bones. Some physical pain can be internal, though, such as concussions or other internal injuries.
Mental pain and suffering, unlike physical pain, cannot be seen on the plaintiff's body—there are no signs of bruises or cuts. However, mental pain and suffering can be diagnosed in the hospital or by a mental health professional. It’s possible for physical pain to be the source of mental anguish, but sometimes mental and emotional pain can be a result of just being involved in an accident or a frightening incident. Mental and emotional pain and suffering can be in the form of depression, mental anguish, emotional pain, loss of enjoyment of life, fear, anger, humiliation, anxiety, shock, and more.
Mental and emotional pain and suffering can manifest in several different ways. A victim may be unable to participate in activities they used to enjoy because of fear, anxiety, or depression. It’s not uncommon for a victim to experience mental and emotional pain based on activities they can no longer do because of their physical pain. For example, a victim of a car accident who experiences a spine injury may no longer be able to exercise or play sports. This can cause significant mental and emotional pain, not just physical pain.
Examples of Physical Pain and Suffering
Physical pain and suffering sounds very straightforward, but it’s important to understand that it can cover an array of injuries. Knowing what constitutes physical pain and suffering can give you a better idea of whether you might have a valid claim. It goes beyond physical pain. Some of the most common types of physical pain and suffering include the following:
- Physical Impairment. If physical injuries prevent you from engaging in certain activities, such as exercise, work, or spending time with your family, this qualifies as physical pain and suffering even once the pain of the injury is no longer present.
- Physical Pain. Physical pain refers to the actual pain you feel from an injury. This is separate from what that pain prevents you from doing or what it requires you to do.
- Disfigurement. Even once your pain dissipates (assuming it does), you may still be left with permanent evidence of the injuries you suffered, such as scars, burns, or even lost limbs. In this case, you should certainly be entitled to compensation for physical pain and suffering.
The above list is not exhaustive; there are many other scenarios in which you could experience physical pain and suffering. If you have questions about what you are entitled to or need help filing a claim, it’s always important to contact an experienced attorney right away.
Examples of Mental Pain and Suffering
Mental and emotional pain and suffering can occur as a result of any personal injury. For example, a victim who is injured in a car accident might suffer physical injuries, which could easily lead to mental and emotional injuries. It’s also possible for emotional and mental pain and suffering to result from the incident itself and not the physical injuries. This can manifest as PTSD symptoms, causing the victim to be in so much despair that they are unable to get in a car or drive on the highway again.
Some of the most common examples of mental and emotional pain and suffering include the following:
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life. After experiencing an injury, it’s not uncommon for the victim to be unable to enjoy and experience many of the things in life that they previously did. This might be a direct result of a physical injury. For example, broken bones or nerve pain prevent a person from ever being able to play a certain sport again. In addition to the physical pain and suffering, this leads to the emotional and mental pain and suffering of losing certain aspects of their lives, causing a loss of enjoyment of life.
- Loss of Quality of Life. This type of pain and suffering is very similar to the loss of enjoyment of life, but it often refers more to the disruption that the physical or mental injuries cause on a day-to-day basis. For example, a victim who has to seek treatment and attend excessive doctor’s appointments will not have the same quality of life that they had before they were injured.
- Depression and Anxiety. After someone is involved in an accident, it’s not uncommon for depression and anxiety to occur. This can occur as a result of physical injuries that prevent the victim from engaging in certain hobbies, or it can occur from simply being involved in the incident in the first place.
It is important to realize that even minor physical injuries can lead to significant mental and emotional pain and suffering.