Pain and Suffering in Personal Injury Cases
I’m Ed Smith, a Vallejo personal injury lawyer. Those seeking payment for injuries from negligent parties are often entitled to many different types of compensation, including money for pain and suffering. “Pain and suffering” is a term that you may have heard before and is an important part of most personal injury cases. However, many people aren’t exactly sure what the term means or how pain and suffering can impact the outcome of a claim. If you have been seriously injured or lost somebody that you love in an accident caused by negligent behavior, you may want to know the following information about how pain and suffering damages work.
Defining Pain and Suffering
Generally, pain and suffering damages fall into two different areas: mental and physical. What they have in common is that they are non-economic damages. These damages differ from other losses that cost the plaintiff money like lost income and medical bills. Non-economic damages are not easy to quantify and are primarily dependent on the way that individuals are affected by them. These damages differ for each case, and the amount of compensation they merit is often decided by a jury.
Physical Non-economic Damages
Injuries like bone fractures, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries often leave people with physical pain and loss of function that affects them for their whole lives. Injured individuals may no longer be able to participate in activities they love like playing an instrument or sport. In cases involving serious injuries, loss of function can seriously reduce a person’s quality of life and ability to take care of themselves.
Mental Non-economic Damages
The mental and emotional suffering aspect of accident trauma can also be very serious. Mental issues that those who’ve been injured in an accident may experience include:
- Fear that keeps them from engaging in activities or even leaving their home
- Anxiety over small and significant issues including worrying about loss of function
- Loss of consortium and/or sexual dysfunction
- Anger about the traumatic accident
- Humiliation about a loss of income or ability
- Loss of enjoyment
- A negative attitude toward life that causes further family or work-related problems
Other common mental issues include:
- Loss of appetite
- Mood swings
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
The amount that a person can claim for pain and suffering damages is dependent on several factors including recovery time, the chance of future problems caused by the injury, loss of function, and more. Because these types of damages are subjective, attorneys will often rely on sources such as medical expert witnesses who can give a testimony about the effects your injury may cause.
There are some limits on pain and suffering damages under California law. For example, pain and suffering damages cannot exceed 250,000 dollars in medical malpractice cases. Additionally, pain and suffering damages cannot be pursued if the injured individual was intoxicated and operating a vehicle at the time of an accident. For more information, contact a personal injury lawyer in Vallejo.
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Vallejo Personal Injury Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Vallejo personal injury lawyer. If an accident has left you or someone you love with significant injuries, call me for some free, friendly advice. You can get in touch with me by calling (707) 564-1900. Elsewhere, feel free to use (800) 404-5400 or my website.
I’m one of the California Million Dollar Advocates Forum members. Lawyers of the forum have settled a case through negotiation or won a verdict in a trial that was worth more than one million USD.
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