Not all the injuries you receive from an accident will be physical. True, you may have to undergo medical procedures, spend a long time in the hospital, and subsequently need to do physical therapy, but very often, the longest-lasting injuries from an accident involve chronic, long lasting pains, as well as “hidden” injuries that do not leave scars, aches, or physical marks. Accordingly, the law lets you get financial compensation for these things, even though their value is not as obvious as, say, surgical procedures.

You recover damages for pain and suffering in New Jersey the same way that you recover any other type of damages in court; you demonstrate, through legal argument, testimony, and evidence, that your defendant is liable for those damages, and then the jury awards them to you. The jury cannot see “pain,” so you have to prove its existence in court.

For a free review of your claim from our New Jersey personal injury attorneys, contact Legal Care New Jersey by calling (732) 838-9769.

What Does “Pain and Suffering Damages” Mean in New Jersey?

You probably have heard “pain and suffering” used in a legal context before. It refers to damages for things that aren’t always visible on the surface. This includes the mental and emotional effects of your accident, as well as anything else that doesn’t necessarily show up on a bill or other documentation.

Sometimes, pain, suffering, mental anguish, and emotional distress are collectively referred to as “non-economic damages.” When we create your lawsuit, our East Orange, NJ personal injury attorneys will pick the best way to describe your situation so that the court, and ultimately the jury, understands why you are requesting certain damages.

Can You Recover Damages for Pain, Suffering, and Emotional Distress in New Jersey?

In most cases, you will be able to recover damages due to pain/suffering without any caps on how much you can get. The only limit is what you can support with evidence and legal argument.

That being said, New Jersey places limits on how much you can get for these things when you sue “public entities,” such as state and local government bodies, under N.J.S.A. § 59:9-2(d). However, that statute has exceptions to this exception. You can still get non-economic damages without any limitations when suing public entities, provided that you demonstrate that you permanently lost bodily function, suffered permanent disfigurement, dismemberment, or medical treatment costing more than $3,600.

Things You Could Get Non-Economic Damages for in New Jersey

“Pain and suffering,” of course, refers to more than just physical ailments. Below are some of the things for which you may seek non-economic damages after an injury.

Mental Anguish

Not all wounds from accidents are physical. Things like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and other conditions caused by your accident can factor into pain and suffering damages.

Chronic Pain

You can get damages to reflect any ongoing pain or discomfort you feel because of your injuries. For example, if you were run over by a car and now it hurts to walk, you can get compensated for that even though “walking hurts” does not have a definitive price tag attached.

Lost Autonomy

If you need professional help to do basic tasks or can no longer participate in certain activities, that can also factor into damages you receive for pain, suffering, or mental anguish in NJ.

Ways to Prove Pain and Suffering Damages in New Jersey

You will need various things to support your claims for non-economic damages in New Jersey. The three main things that will be used to support your legal claims will be physical evidence, testimony, and legal argument.

Physical Evidence

Concrete, physical evidence is one of the most effective tools for proving something in court. Something the jury can see and hold in their hands – not that the jury touches evidence in legal proceedings – can make claims “real” instead of just something floating around in the jury’s head. For example, you can enter into evidence the prescription for pain medication to deal with the after-effects of your injuries and medical procedures. This is a real, physical thing that can be linked to the pain you experienced because of the defendant’s action. Indeed, your actual physical condition can be used to support claims for damages, as the jury can see the effects of the defendant’s actions and visually gain an understanding of the impact it has had on you.


Another thing that can be used to prove damages – of all kinds – is testimony. “Testimony” or evidence given by someone while they are under oath. Lying under oath is, as we all know, a serious crime, so the idea is that things people say on the stand in court will be very likely to be true.

Testimony from various parties can be used to help support a claim for non-economic damages. For example, doctors may be able to talk about the difficulties you had recovering from your injuries. In fact, you yourself can testify as to the effects your injuries had on your life.

Legal Argument

While evidence and personal/witness testimony generally create the factual basis for your claims, you also need to demonstrate that you are entitled to damages under the law. This is where the legal argument comes into play. Once our lawyers prove the facts of your situation, we have to demonstrate how those facts show that the defendant was negligent, either through carelessness or by violating some law. Using a legal argument supported by evidence is effective because the jury can see how the two are linked together and, therefore, will award you the financial compensation you need.

Contact Our Team of New Jersey Personal Injury Attorneys and Discuss Your Case

Legal Care New Jersey can be reached by calling (732) 838-9769, and our Trenton, NJ personal injury attorneys are ready to talk about your case.