How is Pain and Suffering Compensated in a NY Personal Injury Case?
Pain and suffering compensation is – as its name clearly suggests – the part of personal injury compensation that compensates the injured person for the physical, emotional, and psychological harm that is caused by a serious injury. Also referred to as “non-economic” damages, pain and suffering is inherently subjective, both in kind and in quantity. That is to say that it is very difficult to formulate a uniform definition of what “pain and suffering” actually means, as the effects of a serious injury are unique to each victim of a serious accident. It is also very difficult to quantify how pain and suffering translates into financial compensation for the injured person, which is the ultimate goal in most New York personal injury cases.
It is best to think of pain and suffering compensation as accounting for a combination of the actual physical sensation of pain endured (the initial trauma of the injury, painful medical and surgical procedures, rehabilitation and therapy, and physical disabilities), and the loss of the ability to enjoy life (loneliness and depression resulting from the injured person’s inability to participate in their previous activities, a loss of relationships, a loss of the sense of self-worth when an injured person can no longer work, etc.) as a result of a serious injury. In a New York personal injury case, the personal injury lawyer’s job is to present not only the physical pain that a traumatic injury may have caused, but to ensure that the jury understands all of the ways in which an injured person’s life has been fundamentally altered as a result of negligence.
The amount of pain and suffering compensation that is awarded is different in every case. After all, no two people have the same experience when they are injured, and pain and suffering compensation that is awarded in each case should reflect what the injured person went through. It is the job of the personal injury lawyer to make sure that every shred of evidence of the injured person’s pain and suffering – all of the details not only of the trauma and course of medical treatment that they were forced to endure, but also of how their life has been forever altered by their injuries – is properly presented to the jury so that the jury will want to award the maximum amount of pain and suffering compensation possible.
As mentioned above, a jury at trial awards pain and suffering based on the evidence. However, what you may not know is that the jury verdict is not the final word, especially in cases where a jury awards a large amount of pain and suffering compensation. A defendant who is ordered to pay a substantial amount of pain and suffering compensation has the right to first ask the trial judge to reduce the verdict; and also to appeal the jury verdict to a higher court – known as an “appellate” court – that will review the evidence and evaluate whether the jury’s pain and suffering award was reasonable. It is for this reason that you should make sure that any personal injury lawyer you hire has experience trying cases with significant pain and suffering components, because if the evidence of your pain and suffering is not properly presented to the jury, a trial judge or an appellate court might substantially reduce or eliminate your pain and suffering compensation because it was not justified or supported by the evidence presented at the trial.
If you believe that you may be entitled to receive pain and suffering compensation, contact Jesse Minc directly at (718) 354-8000. An experienced personal injury attorney who has recovered millions in personal injury compensation for his clients, he will give you the information you need to evaluate whether you may have a winning personal injury case.