In California, there are many reasons why people sue each other.
When an individual is injured as a result of the negligence or carelessness of another, the victim can file for personal damage claims in a court of law. Calculating the actual damages, such as medical expenses, is relatively easier, while calculating the amount of damages to be awarded for pain and suffering, also known as punitive damages, is not that easy.
Pain and suffering damages are a type of legal remedy issued in connection with many personal injury lawsuits.
These damages are intended to reimburse the victim for losses connected with their injury, including:
- Neck or joint pain from injuries, including whiplash
- Nerve damage from a faulty surgical procedure
- Emotional conditions resulting from trauma
- Grief over the loss of a loved one
It’s not always easy to prove pain and suffering; sometimes it requires the testimony of an expert medical witness or a psychological expert.
In many cases, pain and suffering damages are included in the overall calculation of general damages issued to the victim while in other cases, pain and suffering may be included in compensatory damages, which compensate for the victim’s losses, such as medical expenses or lost wages.
For damage awards that cover the emotional suffering aspect, pain and suffering must be real and not imaginary. Pain or suffering leading to additional physical injury is more likely to result in a damages award.
When filing a lawsuit that involves pain and suffering damages, you may want to follow these simple guidelines:
- Make a log of your injuries before and after the incident – it will help to determine how your pain and suffering is related to the incident.
- Try to be as specific as possible when presenting your condition – don’t be vague.
- Keep all written legal documents, such as police reports, medical receipts and bills, and lost wages as evidence.
The determination of the pain and suffering award is largely left to the discretion of the judge and the jury. They decide on the amount based on factual allegations, such as the extent of suffering, the possibility of recurrent pain, or the existence of bad faith on the part of the offender.
In fixing the amount of such an award, the jury takes a look at the official, economic, social and financial standing of the injured parties on the one hand, and the business and financial position of the offender on the other.
Mental suffering is also considered as a compensable wrong. In many jurisdictions, damages are awarded based on serious anxiety, mental anguish, sleepless nights, or wounded feelings. The jury is given great liberty in determining the amount based on their experienced and appreciation of the evidence presented. Their decision is respected and will only be reversed or modified if there is a clear showing of abuse of discretion.
Keep in mind that pain and suffering damages are only issued under very specific circumstances. It is in your best interests to hire an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney to explain your legal rights and options to you. Contact the personal injury law firm best adequate to meet your legal needs.