Is Bodily Injury the Same As Pain and Suffering?

By  //  October 30, 2020

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Bodily injury is related to pain and suffering in legal terminology, particularly when we are dealing with lawsuits and personal injury law. Keep reading to find out if your case might be eligible for awarding damages.

What qualifies as bodily injury?

At its most basic, bodily injury incorporates all types of physical injury that can be demonstrated by medical reports, such as doctor’s notes, x-ray results, or CT scans, for example, and also through calculated medical bills.

In a car accident case, if an individual is struck by a car and breaks a leg and receives a concussion, then their bodily injury will be listed as such in subsequent legal action.

If the plaintiff has hospital treatment for the leg and concussion with, say, five additional follow-up checks at a hospital or clinic, the costs of those follow-ups will be included in a bodily injury calculation.

Pain and suffering and the “multiplier”

There are types of pain and suffering that are not bodily injury, but for which you can still be eligible for the awarding of damages in court or a hefty settlement.

Some examples of this category of pain and suffering include:

Loss of mentorship

Loss of companionship

Post-traumatic stress disorder

Loss of enjoyment due to an accident or negative event

Reputational damage


Not only can you still receive compensation for these types of damages, but you can often receive more than what you spent at the hospital. Attorneys apply a type of multiplier to pain and suffering, usually on a scale of up to four or five times.

For a particularly egregious type of pain and suffering, such as the loss of a leg, your attorney will apply a high multiplier to all of the medical costs you incurred, demonstrating the serious nature of this pain and suffering.

In a fairly low-cost case with relatively low degrees of pain and suffering, a multiplier of two might be applied to overall costs.

If you lost $20,000 in wages from lost working time and spent another $5,000 in the hospital, then your overall pain and suffering claim would total $50,000, which is considered on the lower end of personal injury lawsuits.

Factors to consider in how successfully the pain and suffering multiplier will be applied include:

If the plaintiff has a criminal record

If the jury believes the plaintiff or suspects they are making some things up in court testimony

If the injuries and related pain and suffering are easy to process and comprehend for a jury

If the testimony by the plaintiff is consistent and error-free

If the diagnoses and medical evidence are clear and compelling

If the person being sued is clearly at fault

Experienced personal injury lawyers also provide emotional support to victims. This is an important factor to consider when deciding whether or not to bring suit and whether or not to hire an attorney.

Personal injury lawsuits can go on for months and even years, so having someone who is more experienced at the job do everything for you will increase your chance of a good outcome and take the load off your shoulders.

Who typically pays for pain and suffering damages in an accident?

In car accidents, which are typical forms of personal injury lawsuits, the question of who pays for pain and suffering damages depends on state law.

Usually, in a typical “fault” state, the driver at fault will have insurance that will cover the other driver’s car and bodily damages up to a predetermined maximum and will have separate coverage for pain and suffering liability. Beyond that cap, the driver at fault is liable.

Often, depending on the state, if both drivers are somewhat at fault, then coverage, as well as liability, will be split based on the degree to which each driver caused the accident. To figure out how this may apply to you, read about whether you live in a fault or no fault state.