If you have been injured due to someone else's negligence, you may have suffered damages. Damages can be economic in nature, such as lost wages and out-of-pocket expenses, or they can be non-economic in nature, as in the case of pain and suffering. But what exactly is meant by pain and suffering?
What is Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering are actually two different types of non-economic damages in personal injury cases. Pain is an immediate sensory feeling. If you break a bone, you will feel immediate pain. Pain can range from mild to severe, and can even go away at times. Suffering, on the other hand, is more of a long term concept. Suffering occurs over a longer span of time after an injury, when the permanent effects of the injury set in and change someone's life in a negative way. In personal injury cases, plaintiffs can typically pursue compensation for both pain and suffering.
Severity and Calculation of Damages
Pain and suffering can't be measured in a purely objective fashion since no two plaintiffs are alike. This is what makes the calculation of non-economic damages one of the most complex parts of a personal injury case.
In rendering verdicts, juries use their own life experiences to determine the value of certain injuries. Inevitably, some injuries will be valued higher than others. To prove pain and suffering damages, in addition to a plaintiff's own testimony, medical records, diagnostic tests, pictures of the injury and bills for medical treatment are all useful.
A personal injury lawyer can gather and present the best evidence to increase the value of your pain and suffering damages. Remember, no two plaintiffs are alike, so every case requires a personal approach and evaluation to make the most of the claim.
No Cap on Pain and Suffering Damages
In New Jersey, there is generally no cap on allowable damages for pain and suffering. Thus, a jury can theoretically award a plaintiff any amount of money that it sees fit as compensation for pain and suffering damages. Of course, there are legal mechanisms that can be used to reduce certain awards that are exorbitant or shock the conscience.
To learn more about pain and suffering damages in New Jersey, contact a reputable personal injury lawyer who can explain your rights and options.