Pain and suffering is a legal term used to describe both the physical and emotional distress suffered by an individual following an accident. In some instances, if a person loses their life due to someone else’s negligence, the family’s claim for wrongful death may also include the concept of loss of consortium.

Proving Pain and Suffering

To establish physical or emotional pain and suffering, it’s necessary to provide substantial evidence, such as:

  1. Doctor’s notes
  2. Medical evidence
  3. Photographs
  4. Personal journals documenting the victim’s pain
  5. Notes from therapists or mental health counselors
  6. Working with a Richmond Personal Injury Lawyer to make sure you know how to navigate your case

Calculating Pain and Suffering

There are two primary methods of calculating pain and suffering in personal injury cases:

  1. Multiplier Method: The total actual damages (e.g., medical bills, lost wages) are multiplied by a number (typically between one and five) depending on the severity of the injury.
  2. Per Diem Method: A specific dollar amount is assigned to every day from the accident to the day the victim reaches “maximum medical recovery” (the point at which no further improvement is expected).

However, every personal injury case is unique, and the calculation of pain and suffering will vary depending on the specific circumstances.

Physical Pain and Suffering

Physical pain and suffering pertains to the tangible injuries an individual may sustain as a result of an accident caused by someone else’s negligence. These injuries can range from minor discomfort to severe, chronic pain.

The following are examples of physical conditions that may qualify for pain and suffering compensation:

  1. Back pain
  2. Traumatic brain injury
  3. Neck pain
  4. Broken or fractured bones
  5. Internal organ damage
  6. Nerve damage
  7. Headaches
  8. Pulled or sprained muscles
  9. Dislocated joints
  10. Paralysis

These conditions may last for years or even become permanent, resulting in constant physical agony.

Emotional Pain and Suffering

Just as physical pain can have lasting consequences, so too can emotional suffering. This type of pain often leads to severe mental and psychological distress, which can last for days or years.

Some examples of emotional pain and suffering include:

  1. Psychological trauma
  2. Fear
  3. Insomnia
  4. Worry
  5. Anger
  6. Grief
  7. Cognitive changes following a head or brain injury
  8. Loss or diminishment of the quality of life
  9. Frustration
  10. Post-traumatic stress disorder

The emotional distress endured by victims following a personal injury can be severe and potentially cause lifelong permanent damage.

Loss of Consortium

Loss of consortium refers to the pain and suffering experienced by family members following the death of their loved one in a personal injury accident. The family may receive special compensation for the emotional distress felt by the surviving members.

Loss of consortium can include:

  1. Loss of care
  2. Loss of companionship
  3. Loss of parental guidance
  4. Loss of spousal intimacy
  5. Loss of love and affection
  6. Loss of household services


Pain and suffering is a complex aspect of personal injury law that involves calculating and proving both physical and emotional distress. If you’ve been injured in an accident, consider seeking legal counsel to help navigate these complexities and ensure your rights are protected.