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What are Pain and Suffering Damages?


“Pain and suffering” are two words you often hear together in the context of a vehicle accident where an injury has been sustained. If you have been hurt in a vehicle accident or other incident, you know these injuries can leave you with a great deal of pain. They also take a toll and impact many aspects of your life. In a personal injury case, these types of damages have specific meanings and are an important component in the total compensation awarded by the court or agreed upon in a settlement.
To understand pain and suffering damages, a general knowledge of the two types of damages most frequently awarded in personal injury cases is helpful: economic and non-economic.

Economic Damages

are tangible losses that can be easily quantified. These types of damages may include hospital, therapy, and medical bills, past, and future lost wages, property damages, lost earning capacity, and out-of-pocket expenses. Economic damages are more concrete because they can be readily documented and accurately calculated.


(or non-pecuniary) damages are more difficult to calculate than economic damages. Compensation for pain and suffering generally falls under the non-economic category. Unlike economic damages, they are not accompanied by receipts or billing statements. Non-economic damages can include emotional distress, lost quality of life, and pain and suffering. These damages don’t come with a definitive price tag however, this does not make them any less costly. In catastrophic injury cases, pain and suffering damages can comprise a large portion of a victim’s compensation.
Courts calculate non-economic damages based on several factors, including the severity of the injury, the victim’s prognosis, and his or her lifestyle. For example, a personal trainer who sustains a devastating spinal cord injury will certainly suffer emotional loss because of his or her accident. Calculating the cost of these types of injuries demands experience and skill, which is why it’s important for accident victims to work with a knowledgeable attorney.
Emotional or mental pain and suffering damages address accident-related emotional distress, psychological trauma, lost enjoyment of life, humiliation, embarrassment, post-traumatic stress, anxiety, or depression that you may be experiencing due to the accident and your injuries.

Should I Document My Pain and Suffering?

Compensation for lost income, earning ability and medical expenses are calculated by referencing invoices, W-2s, and income statements. Calculating pain and suffering will require a more in-depth analysis. You can assist your claim for compensation by documenting your recovery process. Be sure to not minimize the extent of your pain and suffering.

Document All Visits To Medical Professionals

Include any written notes or opinions from your mental health professionals as well as any medical doctors regarding the extent, nature, prognosis of your condition, and how it will impact your life far beyond the actual physical injury.

  • Include testimony and opinions from additional neutral third-party expert medical witnesses that corroborate the evidence provided by your physician or mental health therapist.
  • Provide a complete listing of prescribed medication following the accident, as well as what medications you currently require, this includes medication for both physical and mental pain.
  • Provide documentation regarding any permanent, life-threatening, or disabling conditions.
  • Create and provide a detailed documented journal that describes daily life, pain scales, how the accident has impacted your life, and changed your ability to perform routine daily activities.
  • Provide testimony from friends and family members that detail not only your pain and suffering on a daily basis, but also how they have seen the impact your accident has in your daily life.

The experienced attorneys at Gay and Chacker can offer you legal guidance regarding your specific circumstances for a pain and suffering settlement. Contact us for a free consultation at 215-323-5185 or fill out our form on this web page. Someone from our team will reach out to you shortly.

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