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What Qualifies as “Pain and Suffering” in a Personal Injury Claim?


Medical bills and lost income are only parts of the burden that can come with an injury. Any chronic pain or mental anguish that results from the injury will also have a lasting impact on your quality of life — and finances.

Fortunately, you can get compensation for that kind of pain and suffering in a personal injury claim. But what exactly qualifies as pain and suffering? Read on to find out.

What Counts as Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

There are two categories of damages in a personal injury lawsuit: economic and non-economic. Economic damages cover medical bills, lost income, and property damage.

Pain and suffering, on the other hand, falls into the category of non-economic damages. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t any financial fallout, though. As any experienced personal injury lawyer will tell you, there are ample concrete expenses to living with severe pain and emotional suffering.

Some examples of physical problems qualifying as “pain and suffering” might be:

  • Chronic back or neck pain
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Broken or fractured bones
  • Headaches
  • Nerve damage
  • Internal organ damage
  • Dislocated joints
  • Scarring
  • Disfigurement
  • Pulled or sprained muscles
  • Paralysis

These medical conditions may last for years or even become permanent, leaving a victim with constant physical pain.

Pain and suffering can also cover various forms of mental distress, such as:

  • Depression
  • Psychological trauma
  • Grief
  • Persistent fear
  • Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • Anger issues
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Lack of purpose or energy
  • Humiliation
  • Shock
  • Insomnia
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Cognitive changes due to a head injury

Whether the pain and suffering is physical, psychological, or both, you can add it to your personal injury claim. In fact, you can seek compensation for the effects you’ve already endured as well as any you’re likely to suffer in the future.

Pain and suffering can also be relevant to a wrongful death lawsuit. If someone dies due to another person’s negligence, their family may be able to claim compensation for “loss of consortium.” Loss of consortium refers to actions that an injured or deceased party can no longer provide, such as:

  • Companionship
  • Care
  • Parental guidance
  • Spousal intimacy
  • Household services
  • Love and affection

How Is Pain and Suffering Calculated?

There are two primary methods for calculating pain and suffering. Depending on the details of a personal injury case, either could be used.

1. Multiplier Method

When using the multiplier method, actual damages such as medical bills or lost wages are added together and multiplied by three. For example, if a personal injury victim sustained $5,000 in medical bills and lost income, they would receive $15,000 in pain and suffering damages using the multiplier method.

2. Per Diem Method

The per diem method assigns a dollar amount to every day between the injury to the day the victim achieves a full medical recovery.

For example, the victim could seek a per diem calculation of $100 a day. If they reach full recovery 300 days after the injury, they would multiply those 300 days by the $100 per diem payment and seek $30,000 in compensation for their pain and suffering.

How Much Compensation Can You Receive for Pain and Suffering?

In Minnesota, there’s no limit on how much money can be awarded for pain and suffering. However, proving your pain and suffering claim in a personal injury lawsuit can be complicated. You’ll generally need to produce quite a bit of evidence to support the claim, possibly including:

  • Medical records
  • Proof of treatment by a mental health professional (in cases involving psychological suffering)
  • Photographs
  • Statements from family and friends about how the injury has affected your life
  • Expert witnesses
  • Personal journals

The more evidence you can produce, the more likely you are to reach a settlement or win your case. You can try to file the case yourself, but you’ll be facing an uphill battle, especially if you’re still struggling with the physical or emotional side effects of an injury.

A skilled personal injury attorney will know who to talk to, what documents to collect, and how to go about negotiating with an insurance company or presenting your case to a jury.

Get Help from a Team of Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys

If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, we can help. For the last 70 years, the SiebenCarey team has helped thousands of personal injury victims get the compensation they’re entitled to. Now, we’re ready to help you.

We’ll examine the details of your case and help you understand exactly where you stand. Then, we’ll put our decades of experience to work winning you every penny you’re owed.

Click here for a free, no-obligation case evaluation

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Client Reviews

out of 182 reviews
Jeanne Tondryk

Eric W. Beyer helped me through a very difficult time and his professionalism, advice and results from an injury were highly respected. Amidst the personal part of getting myself back to health, his guidance when life was blurry was so appreciated. He listened and then put forth my options honestly and directly which I totally appreciated!

 Was totally satisfied with his hard work and dedication to help me. I'd highly recommend him. Thank you Eric!

Chris and Amy Boys

We worked with Art and his team on a personal injury case. We could not have been more pleased with the result. Art and his team were both professional and personable, and were a pleasure to work with. I would highly recommend Art and his team if you find yourself in this type of situation.

Daunne Schaller

I was seriously injured in a car accident on my wedding night and went to SiebenCarey. Being involved in an accident is never fun. The folks at SiebenCarey got us thru the event helping us get on with our lives. They were up front and honest. We knew we could trust them. It’s clear to me why Art has been recognized as a Best Lawyer in America and Super Lawyer for 12 years running. Now anytime I know someone who was involved in an accident I refer them to SiebenCarey.

Deb Colombe

I was involved in a car accident that was complicated at best. God blessed with me Eric Beyer as my attorney. Although it was a long drawn out process between the two insurance companies, Eric was not only my attorney, he was my rock.

Eric is one of the most ethical people I have ever met in my lifetime. He was a constant source of not only information, but of comfort throughout the whole process. I never doubted for one moment that Eric did not have my best interest at heart. He took every word I said seriously and did what he had to do. If I ever have the misfortune of another injury like this, I would go to no one other than Eric Beyer. I will never in my lifetime be able to thank Eric enough or let him know how much I respect him and what a comfort he was and has continued to be for me. God Bless you Eric Beyer.

Jesse Bukal

In need of a personal injury attorney? Well you're if you're reading this you're in the right place. You'd be hard pressed to find more competent attorneys than the ones here at SiebenCarey.

They took my case to trial and an amazing job presenting the facts and fighting for my best interests! Three years ago I was unsure of what my future would bring; now that it's over I can rest a bit easier. With SiebenCarey as my counsel, I believe I had the absolute BEST representation a person could've asked for. I knew that I wanted the absolute best representation when searching for an attorney to handle my case and I most definitely received it.

If you need a personal injury attorney, look no further. Can't recommend highly enough.

Teresa Zweber

I retained Robert Brabbit in 2011 for a workmans comp case. I have been extremely pleased with him as my attorney. He won the first part of my case with ease, he has great knowledge and professionalism and am anxious to see the end results of my settlement. I would recommend him highly and he won against a major retail store.

Morgan Petoletti

My husband had an amazing experience with this firm. They listened and took the time to understand our case.

Sheryl Nixon

Jeff Sieben was the first one I talked to about my injury. I was not sure if there was even a case. But as the months went by and my pain got worse, the seriousness of the injury became apparent. Jeff took on the case and put me at ease about the medical bills and calls. He was professional in his attitude while being compassionate to my situation. I have recommended him to others and will continue to do so. 

Ashlyn Wall

They were able to work with me while I was away for school and much appreciated the help. I would highly recommend them!

Adele Thompson
I would like to express my gratitude for the excellent assistance in processing my legal action necessary due to a car accident. In particular Matthew Steinbrink exceeded my expectations regarding all the necessary paperwork and negotiating on my behalf. I would not hesitate to recommend SiebenCarey in the future.

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