Both temporary and permanent injuries usually result in suffering. Lawyers who represent clients with injuries need to try to understand, as much as possible, the consequences of suffering clients endure. Here are some factors to consider in that regard.

Past suffering impacts our future life enjoyment 

Everyone is the product of their past experiences. Past experiences which involve injury and medical treatment can influence not just our present life, but carry over into our future as well.  Past experiences can rob people of their memories and stimulate their fears and worries.  If our past experiences involve pain, suffering and anguish it will also impact how we see and experience our future as well.

Suffering influences our relationship with others 

All of us are a part of a culture and a society. We all belong to a family, or a group or tribe with common rules and values. Suffering from injury can influence the behavior of members of the culture towards an injured person. The reaction of the culture or group can add to the pain of injury because of a change of relationship with their family or cultural relationships. The reaction can be one of acceptance, pity or isolation.

Suffering alters our roles in life 

We all have roles in life. Roles can involve our job, our marriage or other activity important to us. These roles often define who we are. When suffering from injuries interfere with a person’s life role, the person feels diminished by the loss of function that has become part of what makes them unique. When roles are firmly established suffering from injuries can cause a destruction or interference with performing this role. The result is additional suffering that diminishes who they are and their role in life.

Suffering interferes with relationship 

We all need relationships. We need contact with others. There is no consciousness without others, no speaker without a listener and no act that does not somehow encompass others. Suffering from injuries can change relationships. Injuries and the by product of suffering can produce a new personality, even a totally different person. What was once loved in the injured person can be taken away by the suffering and change that injury produces. Without the same relationship the person is diminished. It is in the relationship with others that the full range of human emotions finds expression and suffering can change the extent and nature of important relationships for everyone involved.

Injuries can cause suffering over a feeling of injustice 

People have an inherent sense of right and wrong. They believe wrongs should be redressed. Suffering from injury can represent to them an unfair situation without the ability to remedy the wrong. Instead they must endure it. This can create a feeling of powerlessness to remedy the unfair situation resulting in resentment and suffering.

Suffering interferes with our normal activities 

People are known by what they do daily in life. People have many set ways or habits in their day to day behavior. They take pride in these activities. Performing enjoyable functions, skills or hobby is often an essential part of who we are. When suffering keeps us from performing these activities, due to their injuries, people feel they are not the whole person they once were enhancing their suffering.

Suffering changes our self-image 

Everyone knows the importance of self-image. Who we are and how we see ourselves defines us. We are what we see ourselves as being. The mental relationship we have with our body and how we see ourselves is our own reality. We are what we believe. Injury and suffering from injury can alter the self-image and change the relationship a person has with their body in way that increases the pain.

Suffering impairs future hopes and dreams 

Everyone has hopes and plans for their future. Many people have a secret dream or imagined goal which may be known only to them. They may have aspirations hopes and goals. Suffering from injury can destroy their hope for ever realizing them. It may only have been a dream, but the loss of it can cause great distress and intense pain. The loss of future, hopes and dreams causes suffering which continues in life.

Suffering can impair our spiritual beliefs 

Almost all people have a spiritual life. This is usually expressed in religion but can be a bonding with groups, ideals or anything larger and enduring more than themselves. This quality of being greater and more lasting than one’s individual life gives a person a sense of a timeless dimension. Suffering can create questions about this belief by raising questions and challenging faith. When a person’s transcendent dimension is impaired or lost, it is felt as pain and suffering.


Suffering resulting from injury and treatment for injuries doesn’t impact only the body, but the mind and the person as a human being as well. The more we understand our client’s suffering that is not strictly due to the physical injury, the better we can represent them.


  1. Unfortunately, this is a great summary of just how much an accident or injury can influence a plaintiffs’ life. I always think of it like this – After this major life event, this person is no longer going to be who he or she was.. The impact is so profound that it literally changes their life forever.

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