In Arizona, a personal injury victim is entitled to the full cost of his or her medical expenses, now and in the future as well as what is often referred to as “pain and suffering.” What constitutes pain and suffering? Arizona law provides some explanation of what this includes: pain, discomfort, suffering, disability, disfigurement, and anxiety already experienced and reasonably probable to be experienced in the future.
While this explanation uses the word “pain” and the word “suffering” without specifically defining either term, it provides some other concepts such as “discomfort” and “anxiety” (among others) that are generally more specific extrapolations of the concept of the general phrase “pain and suffering” of which most people are familiar.
It includes actual physical pain as well as mental pain (frustration and anxiety as well as those mental phenomena associated with having to suffer from physical pain). The concept of pain and suffering has no true legal definition or limitation. Instead, it is meant to define what any member of the general public would naturally believe and understand it to be.
In practice, if a victim were asked how they were affected by the wrongdoer’s action- they would provide specific details of their injuries. Such an answer would include the following, all of which would be considered in the legal community as “general damages” or pain and suffering: “This is what hurts and still hurts; This is what I can do and can’t do which I could do before I was injured; This is what I have had to do or deal with as a result,” etc. It effectively turns on how the acts of the wrongdoer have impacted a person in all aspects: physically, mentally and financially.
As a side note as to what personal injury victims are also legally entitled to claim besides what was previously referenced: loss of earnings to date, any decrease in earning power or capacity in the future as well as the loss of enjoyment of life (the participation in life’s activities to the quality and extent normally enjoyed before the injury).