When someone else has acted carelessly or negligently and you’ve suffered actual losses, you have a right to seek compensation in a civil lawsuit. Based on the types of injuries you’ve suffered, you can generally seek damages (a monetary award) for both economic and non-economic losses. Economic damages are those which are easily calculated, such as loss of income or unreimbursed medical expenses. Non-economic damages are less tangible, and typically include loss of consortium or companionship, loss of enjoyment of life, and pain and suffering. In this blog, we take a closer look at what types of recoveries are available for “pain and suffering.”
“Pain and Suffering” Defined
In any personal injury claim, there are customarily two different categories under which damages for pain and suffering fall—physical pain and suffering and mental/emotional pain and suffering. It’s important to understand that physical pain and suffering isn’t limited to physical aches and pains—it can also apply to physical limitations caused by your injury. For example, if you suffer burns that limit your dexterity or mobility, you may be entitled to damages for pain and suffering. In addition, injuries that affect your balance may entitle you to damages for pain and suffering.
Emotional/mental pain and suffering can often be a by-product of physical pain and suffering, but need not be. If you are in constant physical pain, you may experience depression, anxiety, fear, anger or other mental/emotional consequences, entitling you to damages for pain and suffering.
Determining the Value of Damages for Pain and Suffering
With pain and suffering, everyone’s experience is different, and there are no tangible or concrete factors by which the extent of your suffering can be established. Accordingly, many courts instruct juries to use common sense and good judgment when calculating damages for pain and suffering. In New Jersey, as in many states, there is precedent for juries to apply a “multiplier” to calculate damages for pain and suffering. With such an approach, the jury determines the amount of economic damages and multiplies it by a specific factor. For example, if lost wages and unreimbursed medical expenses can be calculated, the jury may multiply that total by some number (often three) to get the damage award for pain and suffering.
At the Cintron Firm, LLC, we offer more than 14 years of experience to people in New Jersey facing a broad array of legal challenges, including people who have sustained workplace injuries. Attorney Mark Cintron has worked as a prosecutor and has extensive courtroom experience, so he’s always ready, willing and able to protect your interests before a judge or jury. Contact our office online or call us at 201-791-1333 or (201) 535-0323 to set up an appointment.