When someone hurts you because of their own fault, you might be able to get money to cover your pain and suffering. Pain and suffering is a type of injury that isn’t about money. It’s about the physical and emotional pain you feel because of your injury. The goal is to give you fair compensation for what you’ve gone through. In California, a jury can ultimately decide how much money you should get for these emotional distress damages. The California Jury Instructions give the jury guidelines to help them make this decision.
What is Pain and Suffering?
In California, pain and suffering is the physical and emotional distress you feel because of your injury. This can include physical pain like headaches or aching muscles, and emotional pain like feeling worried or sad. Legally, these damages are also known as emotional distress damages or general damages. The money you get for these damages is meant to compensate the loss you’ve had because of your injury.
Proving Emotional Distress Damages
Showing that you have pain and suffering can be tough. This is because it’s not something you can easily measure or put a number on. However, there are things that can help show how much pain you’re in. For example, your medical records, like doctor’s notes and treatments, show how badly you were hurt. People who know you, like family, friends, or coworkers, can talk about how your injury has affected you emotionally. You can also write about the physical and emotional pain you feel. And, if you have any pictures or videos of your injury, these can help show how much you’re suffering.
Calculating The Damages
In California, the jury uses a standard of what a normal person would feel in the same situation to decide how much money you should get for pain and suffering. There are different methods for figuring this out.
The multiplier method multiplies your total expenses (like medical bills and lost wages) by a number that shows how serious your injury is. The per diem method gives you a certain amount of money for each day you suffered. The incident method gives you a lump sum of money for each specific time you felt pain. And, the combined method uses a mix of these methods to come up with a final amount for your pain and suffering.
In trial, juries are instructed to use a reasonable person standard to determine pain and suffering damages. This typically includes California Jury Instruction 3905.
Factors that Affect the Amount
There are different things that can influence how much money you get for pain and suffering. The seriousness of your injury is a big factor. If your injury was really bad, you might get more money. How long you can’t work or do your normal activities, and how your injury has changed your life, can also make a difference. Your age, health, and future prospects for getting better, including if you’ll have ongoing general damages, can affect the amount of money you get too.
Maximizing Pain & Suffering Damages
Getting money for your pain and suffering is important. Understanding what pain and suffering is, how to prove it, and how to calculate it, can help you get the fair compensation you deserve. If you’ve been hurt, a personal injury lawyer can help you figure out how much money you should get for your emotional distress damages