What Is Covered in “Pain and Suffering” in an Injury Claim

by Staff Blogger | September 28th, 2020

What are the worst parts of living with a serious injury? Most severe injuries are very costly and debilitating. A sufferer might face a stack of medical bills. They might be unable to do their jobs.

But above all else, most people fear the pain and suffering they’ll experience after an injury. Chronic pain and the mental anguish that comes with it become a heavy burden on their lives. They’re obstacles to joy, peace of mind, and meaningful connections with others.

One could easily make the argument that pain and suffering are the worst consequences of a serious injury. Fortunately, when someone files a personal injury claim, they can include pain and suffering as part of the damages they’re owed, in addition to the “economic” damages like medical bills and lost income.

What’s Included in Pain and Suffering?

Pain and suffering are considered non-economic damages, as opposed to economic damages, such as medical bills, property damage, and lost income. Non-economic damages include the physical pain caused by an injury. But they can also include emotional suffering, such as:

  • Depression
  • Grief
  • Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Insomnia
  • Humiliation

Pain and Suffering Also Includes Disfigurement

One important form of suffering caused by some injuries is disfigurement. Disfigurement presents both physical and psychological pain. It can cause sufferers to withdraw from others and make it more difficult to form meaningful relationships.

If your case involves any form of disfigurement, it’s important to know that this type of non-economic damage should be central to your case.

The Term “Non-Economic Damages” Doesn’t Tell the Full Story

As any experienced personal injury lawyer will tell you, the fact that pain and suffering is considered “non-economic” is very misleading to injured people. There are very concrete costs of living with chronic pain and emotional suffering.

For example, chronic pain contributes to an estimated $560 billion of overall costs to society every year in the U.S. These costs come via direct medical costs, lost productivity, and disability programs in the U.S.

Meanwhile, depression racks up a societal price tag of approximately $210 billion per year. These expenses are attributed to treating the direct costs of depression and the many associated conditions caused by depression, such as sleep disorders and migraines. Studies have also shown that people suffering from depression are more likely to lose their jobs in difficult economic times.

In other words, non-economic damages can have both direct and indirect financial implications. It’s yet another reason that these damages must be factored into an injury claim.

How Are Pain and Suffering Calculated?

In many cases, damages related to pain and suffering exceed the amount of economic damages an injured person receives in a settlement or judgment. The amount of compensation you should demand for your pain and suffering depends on the circumstances of your case.

Experienced personal injury attorneys use several methods to determine the amount of non-economic damages their clients are owed. They look at precedent in other similar cases, and they’ll get to know their clients to find out how seriously their injuries have affected their quality of life.

In California, there are no caps on the amount of money a person can receive in non-economic damages in most case types. However, there is a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice claims.

Berg Injury Lawyers Helps Injured People Throughout Northern California

Since 1981, we’ve been helping injured people get the compensation they’re entitled to after accidents caused by others. We can help you determine your legal options after a serious accident, including how much you’re owed in economic and non-economic damages.

Contact our California personal injury attorneys today for a free consultation.