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How Do New Jersey Court’s Define “Pain and Suffering?”

define pain and suffering

If an individual gets an injury as a result of the negligence of another individual or entity in the State of New Jersey, they have the legal right to seek compensation for their injuries – both physical and mental. These compensatory damages are known as “pain and suffering” compensation.  But, what is it and how do New Jersey courts define “pain and suffering?”

What Exactly Is It?

The loose definition of “pain and suffering” is that it is the physical or mental suffering a person experiences as a result of an accident. It includes Pain, Suffering, Disability, Impairment and the Loss of Enjoyment of Life. We can divide pain and suffering into two distinct components: physical and mental.

Physical Pain and Suffering

Physical pain and suffering refer to the actual bodily injuries a plaintiff incurs as a result of an accident. Furthermore, physical pain and suffering claims include pain for the actual injury suffered. In addition to the natural effects and consequences that the injury and pain causes to a person’s life. Both now and in the future.

Mental Pain and Suffering

Mental pain and suffering refers to the emotional injuries suffered as a result of a defendant’s negligence. Moreover, mental pain and suffering can include things such as mental anguish, distress, anger, humiliation, fear, and shock which may result after an accident. Mental anguish essentially refers to any negative emotions or events which are a result of the negligence of the defendant.


When determining the damages for pain and suffering in the State of New Jersey, a lawyer cannot suggest the amount of pain and suffering to award to a plaintiff.  Rather, the jury must determine the compensatory amount base upon many different factors, including:

  • The injuries changed or affected the extent of the victim’s life;
  • Any impact the injuries had on the plaintiff’s personal or professional life;
  • The impact of the injuries upon the mental health or emotional state of the victim;
  • The extent to which the victim’s injuries have negatively impacted their activities of daily living, lifestyle, hobbies, recreation, marriage, sleep, or general well-being; and
  • The long-term consequences of these injuries on the plaintiff’s life.

No Limitations to Pain and Suffering Damages

For those who wish to seek compensation for any physical or mental pain or suffering, New Jersey – unlike many other states – does not impose a cap on the maximum amount of money that can be awarded. The only restriction on compensation applies to punitive damages; damages designed to punish a defendant for egregious, willful, reckless or intentional conduct. These damages have a limitation to five-time the compensatory damage award. As a result, the cap on punitive damages will likely not affect your potential case or recovery.  

If you are the victim of someone’s negligence and feel you are owed compensation for your pain and suffering, you need an experienced and knowledgeable attorney on your side. Rossetti & DeVoto, PC is willing to assist you through the process of claiming compensation for your injuries. Our New Jersey personal injury attorneys will relentlessly fight for your rights, and make sure that you always come out on top.  Call us today at (844) 263-6260 for a free, no-obligation consultation.     

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