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Compensation for “Pain and Suffering” After an Indiana Car Accident: How Are Such Losses Valued?

I often get asked by clients who’ve been in serious car accidents what kind of compensation they might be able to recover in a lawsuit against the person responsible for causing their injuries.

Certainly, compensation can be sought and obtained for tangible, “economic” damages like medical bills, rehabilitation expenses, property damage, and past and future lost wages. On top of that, though, damages may also be awarded in car accident and other Indiana personal injury cases to compensate the victim for other hard-to-calculate yet very real damages caused by the accident.

Commonly known as “pain and suffering” damages, these “non-economic” damages are designed to compensate a plaintiff for the anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, inconvenience, discomfort, and ongoing pain experienced as the result of an accident.


The value of pain and suffering damages is difficult to define because these damages are not entirely calculated using receipts, invoices, billing statements or other tangible documentation. Pain and suffering damages are usually determined based on the severity of the accident and resulting injury and the anticipated length of time it will take you to fully recover from your injuries. The goal of pain and suffering damages is to provide you the amount of financial recovery it takes to make you whole again.

While there is no magic formula for calculating pain and suffering damages, some of the factors that are considered include:

  • Cost of prescription medication to treat physical and mental pain
  • Anticipated limitations and restrictions on the victim’s day-to-day life
  • Impact of injury or accident on victim’s ability to sleep
  • Impact of injury or accident on victim’s relationships with loved ones
  • Victim’s prognosis for the future


Given the difficult to quantify nature of pain and suffering damages, the evidence that needs to be preserved and gathered to prove those damages can also be complicated.  One thing that is clear, however, is that the more evidence you are able to produce to support your claim, the better your chances to recover adequate damages.

Types of evidence that are most effective in proving pain and suffering damages after a car accident include:

  • Photographs of the injured party before and after the accident
  • Personal diaries or journals describing the victim’s physical and emotional state
  • Letters or testimony from friends and family explaining how the personal injury has negatively impacted the victim’s life
  • Proof of mental health treatment

Testimony from credible witnesses can also be crucial. A spouse is often an effective witness because he or she can identify problems that have surfaced since the accident or injury that the victim himself may not want to acknowledge. Expert witnesses such as doctors, psychologists, or nurses can also play a large role in establishing the extent of the pain and how long it is expected to last.

If you are experiencing pain and suffering as a result of a car accident or injury caused by another person’s recklessness, it’s important that you take the time to preserve records, pictures, letters or other documentation that you and your lawyer can use to get you compensation for the pain and suffering you have endured and may continue to face for years to come.

Don’t face this alone.

Insurance companies handle thousands of claims each year. They treat you like a number. We treat you like family. We take care of your case so you can take care of you.

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