Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages

by | Dec 14, 2020

It is a misconception that personal injury cases are only valuable for those suffering physical injuries. Damages can be awarded to those who experience both physical and mental suffering.

When you have been hurt in an accident, your world, and likely the world of those around you, is changed for the worse. This “accident” has turned your world upside down and left you fearful of your physical recovery and how this new reality will impact your financial stability. Panic can set in.

The solution to getting through the insurance gauntlet of obstacles to financial recovery is the legal advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer.

car accidenttruck accidentmotorcycle accident, or other personal injury accident resulting in bodily injury can cause considerable mental and emotional injuries too. Innocent victims of another person’s negligence are entitled to financial compensation.

Compensation should not just be the medical expenses and property damage but the more intangible losses suffered by the victim. These damages are for your pain and suffering.

Economic damages are damage to your vehicle or other property, costs of medical treatment, lost income, and future lost earnings because of disability.

Generally, economic damages can be more easily calculated. However, non-economic damages are more difficult to establish. Emotional and physical pain cannot be easily valued and are subjective in nature. These damages often require expert opinion support that the victim has suffered, and will continue to suffer, physical and emotional pain.

What are typical types of non-economic pain and suffering damages?

Physical pain

Of non-economic damages, this one is the most tangible and understood. Medical care providers typically ask their patients to rate their pain on a pain scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being almost no pain and 10 being excruciating pain. The victim’s claims of pain will usually be reflected in these medical record entries.


This element is generally easy for people to understand.  It is an emotional response to uncertainty: Will I die? Will I recover? Will I lose my job or home?

Loss of enjoyment of activities

If you used to play basketball (or another sport) with your buds every week but now cannot participate you have lost some enjoyment of life. 

Other examples of loss of enjoyment activities:

  • Holding a child or grandchild
  • Gardening and yard work
  • Dancing
  • Bike riding
  • Anything you can no longer do was a pastime.


This could be going to treatment over an extended period.


The loss of a spouse, parent, or child is devastating, and this non-economic damage is generally well understood by most people.

Loss of companionship

This is separate from grief and more directed at the resulting loneliness. 

Depression or Emotional Distress

This one is harder to communicate with other people. To get damages for depression, one usually has to get medical treatment for the depression that will support its existence.


Loss of sleep can be caused by a number of factors, such as physical pain, fear, depression, and side effects of medications, to name a few.

Proving Pain and Suffering

These types of damages can rarely be proven with a photograph or x-ray, so it is up to the victim to offer evidence of such suffering. A skilled accident attorney can paint a picture of what the plaintiff’s life was like before the accident and how life is different after the accident. Family and friends can help support these claims. Counselors and therapists can establish a victim’s mental state.

In most cases, pain and suffering damages will be determined by many factors in personal injury claims.

  • What were the victim’s recorded pain ratings?
  • How long did it take for the victim to recover, and did the victim recover wholly?
  • Is there a permanent disability or loss of function?
  • Was there a required surgery or surgeries, and how long did the surgical recovery take?
  • Will any future ongoing treatment be required?
  • What is the victim’s remaining life expectancy, and was that affected by the physical injuries?
  • Has the victim’s relationship with a spouse been damaged because of the injuries?

Why do you need a lawyer?

Typically, the at-fault party is represented by an insurance company and its lawyer of choice if in litigation. This leaves you at a distinct disadvantage. The success of your claim for these non-economic damages requires having experienced legal representation negotiating with the insurance company or trying your case in court.

The lawyers at Garrison Law Firm have experienced numerous cases where an insurance company offered the victim of the negligence a pittance of the case value.  But these victims hired us and got much more compensation with our representation.

We have seen it make the difference between zero dollars directed to the victim by an insurance company to a settlement of a million dollars or more with our guidance. Remember, it is not what happened to you but what you can prove happened to you and how it has impacted your life.

If you have suffered any of these non-economic injuries because of an accident that wasn’t your fault, we’re here for you. Talk to the experienced Indiana accident attorneys at Garrison Law Firm. We will help you build a successful claim for the pain and suffering damages you deserve as the victim of negligence.

Call us at 317-842-8283 or send us a contact form by clicking here.

There is no attorney fee until we recover money for you.  Do not wait because time is of the essence.