Things to Know About Pain and Suffering


The effects of a personal injury are often long-lasting.  Not only do you need time to physically recover, but in some cases, the mental and emotional distress can also take a toll on your well-being. If you’re considering filing a lawsuit against the parties responsible for your injuries, you may receive significant compensation based on the pain and suffering you’ve experienced.

While seeking compensation for your suffering is perfectly reasonable, it’s also not as clear-cut as some other types of damages. Here’s a look at a few important things you need to understand about pain and suffering claims.

1. Pain and Suffering May be Physical, Mental, Emotional

There are two types of pain and suffering: physical and mental/emotional. Physical pain and suffering refers to the bodily pain and discomfort you’ve suffered as a result of the injury. Mental and emotional pain and suffering are more of a by-product of your bodily injuries.

Some examples of mental pain and suffering include emotional distress, mental anguish, and a loss of enjoyment in life. Living with fear, anxiety, anger, or humiliation after the incident are also forms of mental and emotional pain and suffering. This can result in problems such as mood swings, sleep disturbances, depression, loss of appetite, sexual dysfunction, and more. In severe cases, your injury may even cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Both physical and mental pain and suffering include the effects you’ve felt to date as well as any detrimental effects that are expected to occur in the future.

2.  Calculating Damages Can be Complex

Calculating the cost of expenses such as medical bills and lost wages is fairly straightforward. However, pain and suffering can be subjective. For example, when two people are involved in the same incident, one could be far more traumatized than the other.

It’s also difficult to put a dollar value on your physical and mental well-being. Insurance companies use different methods to determine the value of pain and suffering claims and may try to offer a lowball settlement. In this case, you’ll be presented with the challenge of proving that your damages are worth more that what was offered and negotiating with the insurance carrier.  

3. Proving Pain and Suffering Can be a Challenge

Before you can receive any type of settlement or award, you must prove that the damages occurred. Since pain and suffering are subjective, this presents a challenge. To back up your claims, you may need to keep a log documenting your daily pain levels, anxiety attacks, and other related issues. Written reports and testimony from your mental health professional and/or family and friends can also help support your case.

Often, insurance companies will work hard to rebut an injured party’s claims so they can pay a lower amount. For example, their attorneys may present your social media updates to show that you’re still out enjoying your life, despite your claims to the contrary.

4. Hiring an Attorney May Improve Your Chances of Success 

Working with a skilled attorney who specializes in personal injury cases may help you get a more favorable outcome. Your attorney can accurately calculate your damages, negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, and represent you if your case goes to trial.

The attorneys at Gallagher & Hagopian have won over $300 million in compensation for our clients. If you’ve suffered a personal injury, contact us to schedule a free case review.