Pain and Suffering Damages

A plaintiff is entitled to compensatory damages for physical pain and mental suffering that accompany or otherwise result from physical injury. (Capelouto v. Kaiser Foundation Hospitals (1972) 7 Cal.3d 889, 893.) These injuries constitute the principal elements of tort personal injury damage, and an award failing to compensate an injured plaintiff where pain and suffering was present is inadequate as a matter of law. (Id.)

Pain and suffering is a unitary concept, encompassing all the physical discomfort and emotional trauma occasioned by an injury. (Id.) A plaintiff is entitled to compensatory damages for all physical pain suffered and also for all resulting “fright, nervousness, grief, anxiety, worry, mortification, shock, humiliation, indignity, embarrassment, apprehension, terror or ordeal.” (Id.; Potter v. Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. (1993) 6 Cal.4th 965, 981.)

The absence of medical bills or medical testimony will not foreclose a recovery for pain and suffering. (Hilliard v. A. H. Robins Co. (1983) 148 Cal.App.3d 374, 413.) Indeed, even in the absence of any explicit evidence showing pain, the jury may infer pain, if the injury is such that the jury in its common experience knows it is normally accompanied by pain. (Id.)

There is no standard for determining general damages. (Civ. Code of Proc., § 3359.) In fact, “no expert may supply a formula for computing the value of life and, by extrapolation, the value of the loss of enjoyment of life. That calculation, at present, must be left to the sound discretion of the jury.” (Loth v. Truck-A-Way Corp. (1998) 60 Cal.App.4th 768.)

“Pain and suffering are not subject to precise measurement by any scale, and their translation into money damages is peculiarly the function of the trier of the facts.” (Singer v. Superior Court (1999) 70 Cal.App.4th 1315, 1320 [quoting Walker v. Superior Court, supra, 53 Cal.3d at p. 269].) “Translating pain and anguish into dollars can, at best, be only an arbitrary allowance, and not a process of measurement, and consequently the judge can, in his instructions, give the jury no standard to go by; he can only tell them to allow such amount as in their discretion they may consider reasonable.... The chief reliance for reaching reasonable results in attempting to value suffering in terms of money must be the restraint and common sense of the jury.” (Loth v. Truck-A-Way Corp. (1998) 60 Cal.App.4th 757, 764.) The only guideline is “a reasonable amount based on the evidence and your common sense.” (Greater Westchester Homeowners Ass'n v. City of Los Angeles (1979) 26 Cal.3d 86, 103; Corenbaum v. Lampkin (2013) 215 Cal.App.4th 1308, 1332.)

Useful Rulings on Pain and Suffering Damages

Recent Rulings on Pain and Suffering Damages

MORRIS VS. CAPE CANYON HOA

In addition, the Complaint alleges injuries including “emotional distress and pain and suffering including but not limited to physical pain, fear, apprehension, nervousness, anxiety, worry, humiliation, indignity, embarrassment and ordeal.” (Complaint, ¶ 100.) The Complaint also alleges harm for “pain and suffering including but not limited to worry, upset, depression, anxiety, frustration, anger, sleeplessness, and other physical manifestations of emotional injury.” (Complaint, ¶ 116.)

  • Hearing

    Feb 11, 2020

STARZ ACQUISITION, LLC, ET AL. VS ALLIED WORLD ASSURANCE COMPANY (U.S.) INC., ET AL.

The attorney who fails to protect his client’s right to sue for personal injury damages neither extends the client’s pain and suffering nor ‘aggravates’ his bodily injuries. [Citation.] The injury sustained by [plaintiff] as a result of [his attorney’s] negligence — loss of a right of action — is entirely distinct from the injury that was the immediate consequence of [the negligent driver’s] negligence — physical injuries — and does not form a normal part of the aftermath of careless driving.”

  • Hearing

    Feb 07, 2020

  • Type

    Insurance

  • Sub Type

    Intellectual Property

HEATHER MINOR AS SUCCESSOR IN INTEREST OF THE ESTATE OF RICHARD KRAATZ DECEASED VS TRANSDEV SERVICES INC

Motion to Strike Defendants move to strike allegations for general and emotional damages and for pain and suffering on the grounds that such damages are not recoverable in a survival action. See, Code Civ. Proc., § 377.34 (survival damages "do not include damages for pain, suffering, or disfigurement"). "Essentially, the line drawn by the Legislature approximates the pecuniary out-of-pocket losses the deceased plaintiff experienced because of the defendant's unlawful behavior." County of Los Angeles v.

  • Hearing

    Feb 06, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    other

HEATHER MINOR AS SUCCESSOR IN INTEREST OF THE ESTATE OF RICHARD KRAATZ DECEASED VS TRANSDEV SERVICES INC

Motion to Strike Defendants move to strike allegations for general and emotional damages and for pain and suffering on the grounds that such damages are not recoverable in a survival action. See, Code Civ. Proc., § 377.34 (survival damages "do not include damages for pain, suffering, or disfigurement"). "Essentially, the line drawn by the Legislature approximates the pecuniary out-of-pocket losses the deceased plaintiff experienced because of the defendant's unlawful behavior." County of Los Angeles v.

  • Hearing

    Feb 06, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    other

JAMES COOK VS STEVEN YORK

Moreover, Plaintiff does not provide any competent evidence to prove up any of his damages, including his past medical expenses, future medical expenses, lost wages, and future lost wages. Moreover, there is no evidence to support his request for $2,763,368 in damages for pain and suffering. ((See Duarte v. Zachariah (1994) 22 Cal.App.4th 1652, 1664-1665 [the standard for determining compensation for pain and suffering is based on what a reasonable person would estimate as fair compensation].)

  • Hearing

    Feb 05, 2020

  • Type

    Other

  • Sub Type

    Intellectual Property

BRETT JEROME BRONSTAD, ET AL. V . CITY OF LOMPOC, ET AL.

Garcia endured substantial pain and suffering, later went into a coma, and passed away in the days following the crash. He is survived by his adult children Plaintiffs Jessica and Michael H. Garcia. [FAC ¶13] On October 1, 2018, shortly after 4:00 p.m., Lompoc Police were called for a “medical assist” and alerted to a domestic disturbance at an apartment building located in the City of Lompoc.

  • Hearing

    Feb 03, 2020

BAKER VS. FIVE STAR

As to Plaintiffs seeking non-economic damages, the Elder Abuse Act provides for such recovery. “On the same proof, a plaintiff who sues as the personal representative or successor in interest of a deceased elder is partially relieved of the limitation on damages imposed by Code of Civil Procedure section 377.34 and may recover damages for the decedent's predeath pain and suffering. (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 15657, subd. (b).)” (Carter v. Prime Healthcare Paradise Valley LLC (2011) 198 Cal.App.4th 396, 404.)

  • Hearing

    Jan 30, 2020

HALL-SMITH VS. SMITH

And finally, Plaintiffs suffered damages including emotional distress, bodily injury and pain and suffering. (Comp. ¶48.) Defendant also argues that the claim is uncertain, but Defendant did not include uncertainty to this claim in its demurrer. In addition, the claim is not so uncertain that Defendant cannot respond to it. Therefore, the demurrer to this claim fails.

  • Hearing

    Jan 29, 2020

LI ZHENWEI, ET AL. VS ADARSHA BENJAMIN, ET AL.

I have requested the sum of $50,000 for the pain and suffering Defendants, specifically BENJAMIN, has caused me.” (See Id., ¶ 17.) Per the summary of Li’s hospitalization visits and prescription medical treatments from August 8, 2017 to date, Plaintiff Li went to a hospital ten times (approximately two times a month) for his atopic dermatitis condition. (See Ex. 30.) Plaintiffs submit no evidence that Li’s atopic dermatitis is connected to his pain and suffering.

  • Hearing

    Jan 29, 2020

  • Type

    Business

  • Sub Type

    Intellectual Property

SAMANTHA CHILDS VS POLANSKY

Merits of Motion Defendants' motion to strike breaks the material they seek to strike down into three categories: (1) attorney fees (2) general damages (i.e. pain and suffering, emotional distress, and general damages from the death of an animal due to veterinary malpractice) (3) punitive damages (pursuant to Civil Code § 3294) In her opposition brief, Plaintiff concedes that she is not opposing the motion to strike as to: (1) attorney fees, and (2) general damages.

  • Hearing

    Jan 23, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    other

SAMANTHA CHILDS VS POLANSKY

Merits of Motion Defendants' motion to strike breaks the material they seek to strike down into three categories: (1) attorney fees (2) general damages (i.e. pain and suffering, emotional distress, and general damages from the death of an animal due to veterinary malpractice) (3) punitive damages (pursuant to Civil Code § 3294) In her opposition brief, Plaintiff concedes that she is not opposing the motion to strike as to: (1) attorney fees, and (2) general damages.

  • Hearing

    Jan 23, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    other

RAMIRO VALADEZ VS. SAILS GROUP INC

"Punitive damages are 'fines and penalties,' within the meaning of Civil Code § 3345." (Ross v. Pioneer Life Ins. Co. (C.D. Cal. 2008) 545 F.Supp.2d 1061, 1067.) But, as noted above, plaintiffs have not pleaded a prima facia claim for punitive damages. The motion to strike references to treble damages is granted. Leave to amend is granted; further leave is unlikely. - Pain and Suffering Damages Plaintiffs seek to recover noneconomic damages for Decedent's pain and suffering.

  • Hearing

    Jan 21, 2020

IAN JEFFREY DURHAM VS JORDANA RUDY, ET AL.

Plaintiff identifies his damages as “pain and suffering and emotional distress and anguish.” FAC at ¶25. Under Nagy, emotional distress damages are only recoverable in a fraud action as an aggravation of other damages. Plaintiff has not identified any other recoverable damages as a result of defendants’ alleged fraud. SUSTAINED with ten days leave to amend.

  • Hearing

    Jan 17, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

SEAN BROCKETT VS THE SALVATION ARMY, ET AL.

Plaintiff has asserted a cause of action for negligence and is claiming damages for pain and suffering. Plaintiff states in his opposition that he does not oppose the demurrer as to this cause of action. The demurrer is SUSTAINED WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND.

  • Hearing

    Jan 14, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    other

  • County

    Los Angeles County, CA

KAY VS REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA

No. 10 (# 166): To preclude Plaintiff from presenting evidence of emotional stress or pain and suffering other than for the timeframe of September 7, 2016 through February 13, 2018 (1 year and 5 months) – DENY. Defendant NOLI CAVA, M.D. No. 1 (# 124): To preclude evidence of professional liability coverage – GRANT. No. 2 (# 125): To preclude evidence of other lawsuits or medical board complaints which Defendant was or may be a party – GRANT.

  • Hearing

    Jan 13, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Medical Malpractice

KAY VS REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA

No. 10 (# 166): To preclude Plaintiff from presenting evidence of emotional stress or pain and suffering other than for the timeframe of September 7, 2016 through February 13, 2018 (1 year and 5 months) – DENY. Defendant NOLI CAVA, M.D. No. 1 (# 124): To preclude evidence of professional liability coverage – GRANT. No. 2 (# 125): To preclude evidence of other lawsuits or medical board complaints which Defendant was or may be a party – GRANT.

  • Hearing

    Jan 13, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Medical Malpractice

JANICE D PARKER VS SMG FACILITY SERVICES LLC ET AL

In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants’ conduct caused her to suffer emotional distress damages. (Compl. ¶ 43.) Plaintiff elaborates that she “has suffered and will continue to suffer severe emotional distress including substantial pain and suffering, extreme and severe mental anguish, anxiety, embarrassment, humiliation, severe headaches, insomnia, depression, anger, loss of self-esteem, and attendant physical injuries and conditions.” (Compl. ¶ 85.)

  • Hearing

    Jan 13, 2020

  • Type

    Employment

  • Sub Type

    Wrongful Term

KAY VS REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA

No. 10 (# 166): To preclude Plaintiff from presenting evidence of emotional stress or pain and suffering other than for the timeframe of September 7, 2016 through February 13, 2018 (1 year and 5 months) – DENY. Defendant NOLI CAVA, M.D. No. 1 (# 124): To preclude evidence of professional liability coverage – GRANT. No. 2 (# 125): To preclude evidence of other lawsuits or medical board complaints which Defendant was or may be a party – GRANT.

  • Hearing

    Jan 13, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Medical Malpractice

CONSUELO MOORE, ET AL. VS CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, ET AL.

Plaintiff claims he was injured as a result of Defendants’ negligence and claims damages for future and past medical expenses associated with treatment for his neck, right shoulder, right arm, lower back and past and future pain and suffering. Plaintiff is not making a claim for loss of income or earning capacity.

  • Hearing

    Jan 10, 2020

DONNA MARIE DEARAUJO SPRATT ET AL VS COSTCO WHOLESALE CORP

Therefore, the issue of liability can be determined without introducing evidence regarding Plaintiffs’ claimed injuries, medical treatment, costs of medical treatment, claimed loss of earnings damages, claimed pain and suffering damages, and claimed loss of consortium damages. Expert testimony on medical issues will also not be needed.

  • Hearing

    Jan 08, 2020

STANCE V. SUTTER SOLANO MEDICAL CENTER, ET AL.

A survivor’s action can be used to recover the loss or damage the decedent incurred before death, and possibly punitive damages, if the other requirements for pleading and proving punitive damages are also met. However, no recovery is possible for the decedent’s pain and suffering. C.C.P. §377.34.

  • Hearing

    Jan 08, 2020

IVAN CARMONA VS RYAN JAMES TOSO ET AL

See Id, at 1015-16 (“We recognize that an allegation of pain and suffering from a physical injury permits a party to recover for a range of emotional injuries. Pain and suffering have included physical pain, fright, nervousness, grief, anxiety, worry, mortification, shock, humiliation, indignity, embarrassment, apprehension, terror and ordeal.”). As such, unless Plaintiff stipulates pursuant to Code of Civ. Proc. §2032.320(c), Defendant is entitled to inquire as to Plaintiff’s emotional injuries.

  • Hearing

    Jan 03, 2020

CERVANTES-ARRIBART VS PIERCE

Plaintiff alleges the conclusion that Defendant's actions caused her "severe emotional distress and mental pain and suffering," but does not allege any specific facts to support such a conclusion. (Complaint, ¶ 43.) The Court sustains the demurrer. "Unless the complaint shows on its face that it is incapable of amendment, denial of leave to amend constitutes an abuse of discretion [...] Liberality in permitting amendment is the rule...." (McDonald v. Superior Court (1986) 180 Cal.App.3d 297, 303-04.)

  • Hearing

    Dec 26, 2019

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    other

CERVANTES-ARRIBART VS PIERCE

Plaintiff alleges the conclusion that Defendant's actions caused her "severe emotional distress and mental pain and suffering," but does not allege any specific facts to support such a conclusion. (Complaint, ¶ 43.) The Court sustains the demurrer. "Unless the complaint shows on its face that it is incapable of amendment, denial of leave to amend constitutes an abuse of discretion [...] Liberality in permitting amendment is the rule...." (McDonald v. Superior Court (1986) 180 Cal.App.3d 297, 303-04.)

  • Hearing

    Dec 26, 2019

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    other

MARIA HERNANDEZ, JR., ET AL. VS WAN SUNG CHAI

In deciding whether a matter should be transferred a trial court must look beyond the pleadings but not so far as to trespass into the province of the trier of fact (e.g., pain and suffering are not subject to precise measurement by any scale, and their translation into money damages is peculiarly the function of the trier of the facts). (Walker, supra; Maldonado v. Superior Court (1996) 45 Cal.App.4th 397, 401.) 4.

  • Hearing

    Dec 26, 2019

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