Pain & Suffering in a Personal Injury Claim

For the most part, personal injury claims include medical bills, property damage (car accidents), lost income, and pain and suffering. The economic damage, such as the medical bills and lost income you can understand, but what is pain and suffering exactly?

Pain and suffering fall into the category of noneconomic damages in a personal injury claim. They refer to mental pain or anguish and physical suffering. For example, suppose “John” is a proud father of four children under the age of fifteen. One day, John is hit by a drunk driver head-on at 60 mph. John not only suffers serious injuries, such as permanent paralysis, but he suffers emotionally because he doesn’t know how he’s going to support his wife and children.

John will spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair and he doesn’t know if he’ll ever be able to go back to work. So, John suffers physical pain, but mental anguish as well. Now, John spends most of his time worrying about how he’ll provide for his family. Also, the traumatic accident did a number of John. Every night when he tries to go to sleep, he has flashbacks and nightmares about the accident – which come under the category of mental suffering.

Physical vs. Mental Suffering

When someone has a physical injury, it’s categorized under pain and suffering. Physical suffering includes the current physical injuries and the long-term effects of the injuries. In John’s case, he was paralyzed from the waist down. Today, he cannot walk, but in the future, he’ll still be confined to a wheelchair.

Examples of physical pain include:

  • Concussions
  • Fractures
  • Whiplash
  • Road rash
  • Bruising
  • Animal bites
  • Internal bleeding
  • Amputation injuries
  • Soft tissue injuries

Mental suffering on the other hand refers to the “psychological effects” of an accident. This can include emotional distress, fear, depression, loss of enjoyment of life, sleep problems, sexual dysfunction, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more.

Physical and mental suffering are closely linked for reasons we can understand. Often, physical suffering leads to mental suffering. Since the physical and mental suffering stemmed from an accident, the injured person may be entitled to damages for “pain and suffering” experienced on the physical and mental levels.

To file a personal injury claim in Columbia, SC, contact our firm today!

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