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What are pain and suffering damages?

On Behalf of | Mar 19, 2021 | Personal Injury

Fans of courtroom dramas will often hear the phrase “pain and suffering,” but they may not be sure what it means. The term applies to a wide range of mental and physical trauma suffered by the victim due to the defendant’s negligence. While some states have a cap on the amount of money awarded for pain and suffering, New Jersey is not one of them.

Personal injury damages come in different forms. There are economic damages because the victim was unable to work during their recovery. There may be additional medical expenses or costs not covered by insurance. There may also be an inability to work the same job after a limited recovery or loss of potential future earnings if the victims progressed professionally as they gained experience and knowledge. Pain and suffering, on the other hand, are regarded as non-economic damages. These damages are less tangible but often can be quite substantial.

Examples of pain and suffering

Whether the damage is due to intention to harm or a general recklessness, examples of pain and suffering include:

  • Emotional suffering and distress: Just as some veterans have post-traumatic stress disorder after combat, those who experience traumatic events can be mentally scarred.
  • Chronic pain: A victim will often have lingering physical pain from injuries that involves a lifetime of pain management, possibly using medication or therapy to help.
  • Inability to enjoy life: A victim may no longer enjoy playing sports or pursuing a hobby, or perhaps engaging in other passions that once brought them joy.
  • Loss of consortium: This involves depriving victims of enjoying companionship with spouses and family members.

Calculating damages

Because pain and suffering damages are less tangible, they are hard to calculate. An experienced personal injury attorney can often help advocate for the victims by explaining the wide scope and long-term impact of these injures.