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California Torts
Copyright 2017, Matthew Bender & Company, Inc., a member of the LexisNexis Group.

4-51 California Torts 51.syn


Recovery for Pain and Suffering


Neil M. Levy; Michael M. Golden; Leonard Sacks

Chapter Summary


This chapter discusses the pain and suffering element of a general damage award. Part A discusses the situations in which a plaintiff is and is not entitled to an award for pain and suffering. The chapter explains that under California law, a person injured by the tortious act of another is entitled to money damages as reasonable compensation for pain and suffering; however, there are limitations on the right to recovery, including plaintiff's death before judgment, actions against health care providers, wrongful life actions, and breach of contract actions.

Part B discusses the "unitary concept" of pain and suffering in California and its elements, including loss of enjoyment of life, shortened life expectancy, and emotional distress. Part B also reviews the necessary elements of recovery for future pain and suffering. Part C discusses medical aspects of pain and suffering. Specifically, it defines recognized types of pain; explains how pain may affect different individuals; and covers the psychological and physical aspects of pain. Part C also describes how pain is classified; for example, pain can be classified as chronic or acute, and it can be classified by location and origin (e.g., organic or functional, psychosomatic or psychogenic).

Part D discusses proof of pain and suffering, both past and future, through inferences, subjective evidence, lay testimony, expert testimony, and demonstrative evidence. Part E discusses rules relating to the presentation of pain and suffering evidence to the jury, including the admissibility of per diem arguments and golden rule arguments. Part F examines the role of the trial and appellate courts in reviewing verdicts for pain and suffering, including the remedies for excessive damages (remittitur) and inadequate damages (additur).

California Torts (Matthew Bender) provides in-depth coverage of virtually all recognized theories of tort liability under California law, including related defenses and immunities. In addition to its substantial focus on California personal injury law, the treatise also covers professional liability and a variety of business tort causes of action, such as unfair competition, intentional or negligent interference with business or contractual relationships, unjust dismissal, and "bad faith" actions. It contains detailed information to help attorneys prepare during every stage of case development, from pretrial to verdict to post trial.


Pain and suffering in California,money damages for pain and suffering,unitary concept,loss of enjoyment of life,shortened life expectancy,emotional distress,future pain and suffering,psychic injury


Chapter 52 discusses recovery of damages for medical expenses and economic loss.

Punitive damages are discussed in Chapter 54.

Mitigation of damages and the collateral source rule are covered in Chapter 53.

Damages for death and survival actions are discussed in Chapter 55.

For discussion of actions for loss of consortium, see Chapter 56.

For further discussion of the special statutory provisions applicable to tort actions against health care providers, see Chapter 31.


For forms relating to the recovery of damages for pain, suffering, and emotional distress, see California Forms of Pleading and Practice (Matthew Bender), Chapter 177, Damages, and Chapter 362, Mental Suffering and Emotional Distress.

For sample memoranda and related sample pleadings which may be submitted in actions and proceedings involving tort damages, see California Points and Authorities (Matthew Bender), Chapter 64, Damages: Torts.

See Punitive Damages (Matthew Bender) for coverage of all the latest developments in tort reform state by state, and a wide range of pretrial, trial, and post-trial strategies.

See Jury Instructions on Damages in Tort Actions (Matthew Bender) for valuable guidance on writing jury instructions that spell out a clear statement of the issues, a discussion of the evidence, and an explanation of the principles of a case.

See Damages in Tort Actions (Matthew Bender) for in-depth legal and policy analyses of compensatory and punitive damages in personal injury, wrongful death, and property damage cases.
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