Injury Spotlight: What Are Pain and Suffering Damages and How Are They Calculated?
Illinois law recognizes that pain and suffering is a very real consequence of a severe injury, and even though such “non-economic” damages don’t lend themselves to easy calculation, you can receive compensation for the pain and suffering caused by someone else’s negligence.
Within the two words “pain” and “suffering” is a whole range of physical, emotional, and psychological impacts of an accident or injury. Such elements can include:
- Physical pain
- Stress, anxiety, or depression
- Embarrassment from scarring or disfigurement
- Limitations and restrictions on the injury victim’s day-to-day life
- Effect on a victim’s ability to sleep
- Impact on a victim’s relationships with loved ones
- Shortened life expectancy
These “non-economic” damages don’t come with an equation or formula for putting a dollar figure on each aspect of an injury victim’s intangible but genuine losses. But like all other elements of a personal injury claim, evidence must be presented as to pain and suffering to recover any damages for such losses.
Examples of the types of evidence that a plaintiff can use to demonstrate pain and suffering and justify an award of damages include:
- Expert medical testimony
- Photographs contrasting the injury victim before and after the accident
- Personal journals or diaries describing the injury victim’s physical and emotional condition
- Letters or statements from friends and family discussing how the injury has impacted the victim’s life and their relationships with others
- Proof of mental health issues and treatment
We all know that pain is real and suffering isn’t a figment of our imaginations. But when you are in a court of law and are asking a jury to award you compensation for the pain and suffering a defendant has caused you, it is imperative that you have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side who knows how make your unseen injuries crystal clear.