What is Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury Case?

What is Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury Case

If you or someone you know has been injured because of the carelessness of someone else, you may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering. This term is one that many people may not understand. When it comes to personal injury cases, the term “pain and suffering” is used to describe compensation to the injured person for the physical and emotional distress caused by their injury. This is separate from compensation for economic losses such as medical bills or lost wages.

Pain and Suffering can refer to both physical and mental pain and suffering.

Physical Pain and Suffering

Physical pain and suffering resulting from an injury due to someone else’s carelessness not only includes the initial trauma like broken bones, loss of limb, concussion, etc. that is considered “initial pain”, but can also include other long-term pain and suffering that results from ongoing rehab or physical therapy. You may experience physical pain and suffering in a number of scenarios, including:

  • Motorcycle, car or truck accident
  • Workplace injury
  • Dog bite
  • Slip & fall

For instance, if you suffer a broken hand or leg in a car accident that is caused by someone else’s carelessness, you may be entitled to physical pain and suffering damages for the initial pain of your injury. But, if your injury requires rehab to be able to enjoy a normal life again, you may also be entitled to compensation for the ongoing pain and suffering you face.

Mental Pain and Suffering

While mental pain and suffering may be harder to document than physical pain and suffering, it is just as important to your overall well being. Any mental anguish or negative emotion you may suffer from your initial accident may be classified as mental pain and suffering, and you may be entitled to compensation. For instance, if you need to see a psychologist over fear and anxiety over driving your car again, that may qualify as mental pain and suffering in your personal injury case. Examples of possible mental pain and suffering include:

  • Emotional distress
  • Fear
  • Humiliation
  • Anger
  • Stress or anxiety

In some instances, people injured by someone else’s carelessness are diagnosed with more severe mental conditions such as:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder or other anxiety disorders
  • Impulse control issues, resulting from your anger over the circumstances of your injuries and the life changes they’ve caused
  • Depression and its symptoms, including loss of appetite, sleep disturbances or changes, sexual dysfunction, and loss of life enjoyment, among others

Calculating Pain and Suffering

Now that you know the different types of pain and suffering and how they are classified, it is important to also know how to calculate pain and suffering. Because people are affected differently, it can be difficult to assign values to damages. While it can be tricky to exactly determine the damages involved in your case, there are general guidelines that may help. The most important part of calculating damages is examining supporting documentation such as police reports, medical records, and photos of the injured person’s injuries.

When determining pain and suffering, a judge or jury will often base their decision about fair compensation on the particular circumstances of the case and what they have learned about how the injury has impacted the particular victim’s life.


Determining a fair amount of compensation for pain and suffering in a personal injury case is very important if you had an injury or accident due to the negligence of someone else. And, because it is a concept that is often unfamiliar to people not in the legal profession, it is important to consult a reputable and trustworthy attorney for help. Contact us today to speak with one of our attorneys serving the Zanesville, Ohio area.