Car accident pain and suffering has always been difficult to define. Wisconsin jury instructions state: Pain, suffering, disability, and disfigurement includes any physical pain, worry, distress, embarrassment, and humiliation which the plaintiff has suffered in the past and is reasonably certain to suffer in the future. To what extent the injuries have impaired and will impair his or her ability to enjoy the normal activities, pleasures, and benefits of life. Finally, consider the nature of plaintiff's injuries, the effect produced by plaintiff's injuries in the past, and the effect the injuries are reasonably certain to produce in the future bearing in mind plaintiff's age, prior mental and physical condition, and the probable duration of his or her life.
Pain and suffering are one of the three types of damages available in personal injury or automobile accident cases, but are very difficult to define. Pain and suffering is unitary concept for which a plaintiff may recover for physical pain and for fright, nervousness, grief, anxiety, worry, mortification, shock, humiliation, indignity, embarrassment, apprehension, terror or ordeal. It has also been said that the term "pain and suffering" covers disfigurement and deformity, depression due to inability to work or labor, anxiety or worry proximately attributable to an injury, and mental distress caused by impairment of the enjoyment of life. Pain and suffering need not be physical but may be psychological as well. Of course, the judge or jury has to be convinced by the burden of proof that the pain and suffering is real.