Pain and Suffering Law & Legal Definition


Pain and suffering is the physical and mental anguish suffered from an injury, including broken bones and torn ligaments, etc., but also the aches, pain, temporary and permanent limitations on activity, potential shortening of life, depression and embarrassment from disfigurement and scarring. Pain and suffering are part of the "general damages" recoverable by someone injured by another's negligence or intentional attack. The dollar value of damages for pain and suffering is subjective, since it can't be easily quantified the way medical expenses can.

Pain and suffering reports that are developed by an expert witness can help the judge and jury understand the details of treating an injury. In some states, the representative of a deceased person may sue a wrongdoer for the pain and suffering the deceased experienced before death. The court's award for non-pecuniary damages is based on a number of factors including:

  1. the type of injuries you have suffered,
  2. the severity and duration of your pain,
  3. the effect of your injuries on your enjoyment of life and your sports and hobbies,
  4. the problems you may suffer in the future and
  5. the weight of the evidence you are able to supply that you actually suffered these problems.