Pain and suffering are one of the three types of damages available in personal injury or automobile accident cases, but are very difficult to define. Pain and suffering is unitary concept for which a plaintiff may recover for physical pain and for fright, nervousness, grief, anxiety, worry, mortification, shock, humiliation, indignity, embarrassment, apprehension, terror or ordeal. It has also been said that the term “pain and suffering” covers disfigurement and deformity, depression due to inability to work or labor, anxiety or worry proximately attributable to an injury, and mental distress caused by impairment of the enjoyment of life. Pain and suffering need not be physical but may be psychological as well. Of course, the judge or jury has to be convinced by the burden of proof that the pain and suffering is real.
It has been explained that the concept of pain and suffering really consists of three distinguishable components: 1) physical pain; 2) mental suffering, which arises directly from awareness of physical pain; and 3) mental anguish, which are the anxiety and stress and depression consequences of the fact of injury which are not directly related to pain.
The Wisconsin Civil Jury Instructions list many of the possible elements of pain and suffering. Past pain and suffering, from the date of accident to trial, includes, pain, suffering, and disability, disfigurement, including any physical pain, humiliation, embarrassment, worry and distress. The jury is consider to what extent the injuries impaired the ability to enjoy the normal activities, pleasures, and benefits of life. Future pain and suffering is more complex asking what the sum of money will fairly and reasonably compensate future pain, suffering, disability, and disfigurement. Future pain, suffering includes physical pain, worry, distress, embarrassment and humiliation. The jury is to consider the extent the injuries have impaired and will impair the ability to enjoy the normal activities, pleasures, and benefits of life; the nature of the injuries; the effect the injuries are reasonably certain to produce in the future bearing in mind the age, prior mental and physical condition, and the probable duration of his or her life.
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin McCormick Law Office attorneys present personal injury pain and suffering evidence through not only the injured person, but also friends and relatives who can explain the before and after of how the accident injuries have affected a person’s life. It is often not so much what the person has lost, for example the inability to exercise as before or do a certain hobby. The worse damage is what the injured person is left with, the emptiness, the hole where before the time and thoughts and physical efforts were filled with worthwhile activity. This is pain and suffering.