Updated November 30, 2018 | Legal Dictionary

Pain and Suffering: A Legal Definition

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Pain and suffering is a phrase often associated with tort law and personal injury claims.

Under Indiana law, pain and suffering is physical or mental distress for which one can seek damages in a personal injury lawsuit. The plaintiff must show that the pain and suffering resulted from the defendant’s negligence.

Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury Case

Many losses in a personal injury cases are hard dollar figures, such as medical bills and lost wages. Pain and suffering is often more difficult to define, prove, and quantify.

All physical pain and mental anguish that result from injuries caused by the defendant’s negligence could apply for compensation under tort law, including:

  • Pain from the injury
  • Pain from surgery, physical therapy, or other treatments made necessary by the injuries sustained
  • Ongoing or chronic pain, including future pain, stemming from the injuries
  • Mental anguish over the pain itself or regarding the sudden uncertainty of the victim’s future

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