If you've ever been involved in a legal case, or have even watched a TV show about lawyers, you may have heard confusing legal jargon thrown around by those involved. Perhaps you've heard terms like "pain and suffering" or "punitive damages," but no one has ever really explained what those terms mean.
Read on for an in-depth explanation of pain and suffering damages, and what they could potentially mean to someone's Personal Injury case.
What is Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering is the legal term that refers to physical and emotional stress caused from an injury. Pain and suffering can include a number of different things: temporary or permanent physical limitations, aches and spasms, depression, scarring, a potential shortening of life, and more.
Injuries are the most obvious form of pain and suffering as it pertains to a legal case; however, pain and suffering can also extend to emotional or mental trauma. It can be more difficult to prove these elements of pain and suffering, especially without the help of an attorney. It's important to be able to connect them with the accident that occurred.
What Are Damages?
In the legal sense, damages refer to the payments given to an individual for a loss they suffered because of an accident. However, there are multiple categories of damages:
-- Punitive Damages - These are damages that are enacted to keep the defendant from repeating his or her crime. They are typically awarded when compensatory damages are seen as an inadequate amount of compensation.
-- Compensatory Damages - This includes things like pain and suffering, economic losses, lost earnings, property damages, and more.
Within the category of compensatory damages, there are even more subcategories, including:
Special Damages: These damages can be quantified, which is what sets them apart from other forms of damages. This refers to losses that can be tracked directly. Unpaid medical bills, lost wages/paychecks, damage to your property, etc.
General Damages: These damages are usually more difficult to quantify, meaning they might not be as obvious at first. They include things like pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, and more.
Personal injury cases involving pain and suffering damages can be emotionally taxing and difficult to prove, particularly without legal representation. An experienced personal injury attorney can build your case, obtain expert witnesses, and represent your best interests in court. The team at Dugan & Associates is here for you, and we're ready to look at your case. Contact us for a consultation.