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Legal Look at Pain and Suffering

"Pain and suffering" is a key component in many personal injury cases. There are two types: physical pain and suffering, and mental pain and suffering, and mental pain and suffering.

Physical pain and suffering covers not only the ill physical effects that a claimant has suffered to date, but also what they are likely to endure in the future as a result of the defendants negligence. Mental pain and suffering is an offshoot of the claimant's physical injuries and the trauma of an accident. It can include anxiety, anger, depression, humiliation, sleep disorders, fear, and loss of enjoyment of life, among other negitive effects. It encompasses what hte victim has suffered to date as well as what they will likely endure in the future.

Calculating compensation for pain and suffering is an imprecise task; there are generally no set guidelines. In most states, judges simply instruct the jury to utilize good common sense and to draw upon their individual backgrounds and experiences to arrive at a fair and reasonable figure.

In some cases, another component to a pain and suffering calculation is the use of a "multiplier". It involves a victims total medical bills and lost earnings (past and future) and multiplies that figure anywhere from 1.5 to 5 times or more, depending on the type and severity of the injury.

The value of pain and suffering case can also be influenced by a plaintiff's credibility on the witness stand, likability, consistency in testimony, and physicians support of the plaintiff's claims.

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