Determining “Pain and Suffering” in a Personal Injury Case

california civil jury instruction handbookOne of the most difficult components of building a personal injury case is calculating damages. Frequently, a client will assume that only out-of-pocket costs will be considered, but damages aren’t just about hospital bills. A serious injury can come with a variety of expenses: treatment for ongoing physical discomfort, changes in housing because of mobility issues, or counseling for depression. For example, a client disabled by an injury will need to move to another home because his floor is on the second-story.

Thankfully, this is recognized by the courts. California Code (CACI 3905A) allows for nine categories of “pain and suffering” when calculating damages:

  1. Physical Pain
  2. Mental Suffering
  3. Loss of Enjoyment of Life
  4. Disfigurement
  5. Physical Impairment
  6. Inconvenience
  7. Grief
  8. Anxiety
  9. Humiliation or Emotional Distress

During trial, present and detail each of these categories as a separate option to the the juror and you will be giving your jury enough options to increase damages to their full potential. For a full explanation, please visit the Booth & Koskoff website.