What is Pain and Suffering?
The concept of “Pain and Suffering” has long been established in the law as an element of personal injury damages. It has been recognized that where a person incurs medical expenses as a result of an injury, he or she is entitled to pain and suffering damages in some amount.
In Iowa, “physical pain and suffering” may include, but is not limited to, bodily suffering or discomfort. “Mental pain and suffering” may include, but is not limited to, mental anguish or loss of enjoyment of life.
Iowa law also provides that the amount assessed for pain and suffering cannot be measured by any exact or mathematical standard. Instead, each claim has unique factors which help determine the appropriate amount for fair compensation.
It is common for insurance adjusters to attempt to lump pain and suffering into categories like “general damages” or “damages for inconvenience.” Some insurance companies even use a “mathematical formula” to determine such amounts when they make an offer to settle a case. These approaches are not consistent with the legal definition of damages and reflect an attempt to reduce the value of the claim.
Because “pain and suffering” damages are subjective, documentation can be an important factor. It is important that anyone seeking compensation for an injury understand that pain and suffering damages are real and recognized by the law.