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  • Writer's pictureMERCADO KRAMER LLP

What is pain and suffering?

Construction worker holding his back in pain. Your personal injury attorney should get to know your individual pain and suffering to fight for maximum compensation.

If you’ve been injured in a car wreck, you know firsthand what pain and suffering are: Burning pain in your neck, spasming lumbar muscles, anxiety in traffic, difficulty getting out of bed in the morning and more. Under the personal injury laws of California, you are entitled to receive compensation for your pain and suffering. These are called “noneconomic damages” because, unlike a medical bill or lost wages, there is no fixed dollar amount.

How do you quantify noneconomic damages? The short answer is that you can’t.

Under California law “no fixed standard exists for deciding the amount …” If your case goes to trial, the court instructs the jury that “You must use your judgment to decide a reasonable amount based on the evidence and your common sense.” If you reach an out-of=court settlement, your personal injury attorney and the responsible insurance company will negotiate this amount.

The categories for which you can receive compensation include:

  • Physical pain

  • Mental suffering

  • Loss of enjoyment of life

  • Disfigurement

  • Physical impairment

  • Inconvenience

  • Grief

  • Anxiety

  • Humiliation

  • Emotional distress

You can receive compensation for both past pain and suffering, and for future pain and suffering if your injuries are long-term or permanent. You should consult a personal injury attorney near you to find out about what you might be entitled to receive for your particular case. It’s important that your personal injury attorney understands all the ways that your injuries have impacted your life, so that they can argue for a greater amount of noneconomic damages.


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