The law in the United States protects you from careless and negligent choices of the people around you by allowing you to sue for compensation. Let’s say a restaurant owner or landlord failed to fix something broken or because another was driving recklessly and hit you. In turn, you have the right to claim compensation for what you went through as a result.  

If you’re suing someone or pursuing a case for something that happened to you, your potential financial compensation will be determined by a set of different factors. These factors are meant to measure the impact of the accident on you and your life. One of the more ambiguous factors is pain and suffering. But what does it mean to be compensated for pain and suffering you went through, and how is that assessed?  

General Damages

Pain and suffering, whether it’s mental, emotional, or physical, are types of general damages that deserve compensation in an injury claim. These damages can refer to the actual pain of injury and recovery after an accident, as well as the expected future pain and discomfort. Any negative emotion, distress, or lack of enjoyment you suffer because of the accident can qualify as relevant pain and discomfort. 

Pain and suffering settlement examples can include physical injuries that prevent you from doing athletic activities you love and limit your enjoyment in the future. It can also refer to car accidents that leave you with residual pain or scars that change your appearance and permanently affect your social and emotional life.  


Proving and Assessing Your Claim 

Of course, measuring and evaluating pain and suffering is easier said than done. The best evidence for this sort of injury will include reports from physicians and psychologists describing the physical and emotional effects. These records will strengthen your claim and make it more legitimate than if you only had your own personal testimony. Especially extreme or unusual accidents will also have a better chance of proving lasting emotional pain.


The actual monetary compensation for your subjective pain and suffering will be determined by the court, as there are several different common ways of calculating it. This is sometimes derived from a formula using the length of the symptoms and the bills related to it, and it can often depend on a precedent set by other similar cases. A qualified personal injury attorney can help you estimate the compensation you’re likely to receive and understand how best to achieve that. 


Other Types of Damages

The more straight-forward categories of compensation in a personal injury claim include compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages correspond to actual expenses incurred as a result of the accident. You can prove these damages with medical bills, repair costs, and a record of the wages you weren’t able to earn because of the accident. 

Punitive damages are imposed by a judge when the otherwise established amount isn’t sufficient as a punishment and future deterrent for the responsible party. This often comes into play when the culprit is a large corporation that can easily absorb the cost of a small lawsuit.