How is Pain and Suffering Calculated in Massachusetts?
Often, a large portion of personal injury award is comprised of damages for “pain and suffering.” How, exactly, do juries in Massachusetts calculate pain and suffering damages?
In general, juries are entitled to make an award for pain and suffering in any amount that they determine just. Typically, in deciding such damages, juries will consider such as the following:
- How severe was the pain? Some injuries, such as burns, can cause excruciating pain, not only at the time of the injury, but also for months (and sometimes years) thereafter.
- How long did the pain last? Was it for a short duration, or did it continue for a long time period?
- Was there psychological pain? Some damages can lead to severe trauma, causing psychological pain that can last long after the injury event is over.
- Was there emotional pain? Some injuries, such as facial scarring and other disfigurement, can leave a person with ongoing emotional pain that can last a lifetime. These types of injuries can dramatically change the way a person views himself or herself, as well as how they are able to interact with the outside world.
- What is the age of the victim? Young children and the elderly are typically considered by juries to have a lower threshold for pain. They may also be seen as “more innocent”, and deserving more protection in injury cases.
- How much were the medical expenses incurred? In some cases, often those in which the injuries are not particularly severe, the juries may take into account the medical expenses sustained, and use this amount as a calculation of the amount of pain and suffering. For instance, if the medical expenses were $10,000, a jury may determine that the injured victim should be entitled to $20,000 for pain and suffering.
My Role is to Make Your Case for Full Damages for Pain and Suffering
I will want to introduce evidence to make your case for the full value for the pain and suffering that you received, both in settlement efforts and, if necessary, at trial. This evidence could be your testimony in court (or in a deposition), medical experts or others who are familiar with your case, and even notes that you may take after your injury. If the defendants are not willing to pay you fair compensation for your suffering, then I will make your case to a jury and let them determine liability and fair compensation for pain and suffering.