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Seeking Compensation for Pain and Suffering After a Car Accident

If you've recently been in a car accident, you know the physical and emotional impact can be immense. Many people understand that they can be reimbursed for their medical expenses, but they may not be aware that they could also receive money for their pain and suffering.

But how do you go about seeking this compensation? This article sheds light on the process of claiming pain and suffering that often results from a car wreck.

What Is the Legal Definition of Pain and Suffering?

Pain and suffering are two separate words, but in a legal context, “pain and suffering” is a singular term. “Pain” refers to the physical agony an injury causes, and “suffering” refers to the emotional distress. You can’t have one without the other, so the law groups the two ideas.

Personal injury law often revolves around paying someone back for their expenses, but it also recognizes the misery an injury brings. Pain and suffering helps compensate for intangible things such as decreased quality of life, mental distress, or inconvenience.

Therefore, injury victims can seek financial compensation for their pain and suffering. These are called “non-economic” damages because they do not directly pay you back for the money you spent or lost.

Collecting Evidence of Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering is not a concrete thing like medical expenses or income loss. Therefore, it requires different types of evidence.

You will need to collect items like medical records, photographs of injuries, and statements from witnesses. You may even be able to include diagnoses from mental health professionals.

Witnesses are a particularly strong source of evidence for your pain and suffering claim. They can attest to things like subtle changes in behavior. For instance, you may have trouble sleeping or struggle with daily tasks.

Work closely with your attorney to help you gather the evidence you need to make a strong pain and suffering claim.

Working with an Attorney to Seek Pain and Suffering Compensation

After a car accident, you will need a legal professional’s help to make your pain and suffering claim. No two accidents are alike. An experienced attorney can assess your situation and advocate on your behalf.

With a lawyer by your side, you'll have a better chance of receiving the compensation that you deserve.

How Do Lawyers Calculate a Fair Amount for Pain and Suffering Compensation?

Unlike economic damages, there is no fixed formula for determining pain and suffering damages. Courts consider various factors such as the severity of the injury, the duration, the effect on the person's life, and the other party’s degree of fault.

There are some standardized methods attorneys can use to reach a reasonable pain and suffering request, such as:

  • Per Diem Method
    This method puts a specific dollar amount on each day you experience pain and suffering. Your attorney reaches the total compensation by multiplying the per diem (per day) rate with the number of days the person suffered.
  • Multiplier Method
    Under this method, a court or insurance company calculates pain and suffering damages by multiplying the economic damages (such as medical bills and lost wages) by a certain number, known as the multiplier. The multiplier is typically based on the severity of the injuries and their impact on your life.

Preparing for Pain and Suffering Negotiations

  1. Gather all relevant documentation, such as medical records and witness statements statements from witnesses, can help build a stronger case.
  2. Inform the insurance company of any injuries sustained during the accident.
  3. Keep detailed records of any ongoing medical treatments or therapy sessions.
  4. Seek help from an attorney.

Other types of Compensation You Could Receive After a Car Accident

“Economic damages” refer to the financial losses you suffered as a direct result of a car wreck. These damages are tangible. This means you can create objective calculations based on the actual monetary losses incurred.

Here are some common types of economic damages in a personal injury case:

Medical Expenses: This includes the cost of medical treatments, hospital stays, surgeries, prescription medications, rehabilitation, therapy, and any other healthcare-related expenses.

Lost Wages: If the injury prevents you from working, you could be repaid for your lost income. This could include compensating you for vacation time, since you would not have used these days otherwise.

Lost Potential Wages: This is the income you could have earned if not for the injury. Examples include missed promotions or other lost opportunities.

Property Damage: In cases where property is damaged or destroyed, which is often the case in a car accident, you can claim the cost of repairing or replacing the property as economic damages.

Rehabilitation and Assistive Devices: If the injury requires long-term rehabilitation or necessitates using devices like wheelchairs or prosthetics, this cost may be included as economic damages.

Home Modifications: In cases where the injury causes a permanent disability or impairment, the victim must often modify their home to accommodate their needs. Examples include installing ramps or handrails, reconfiguring bathrooms, buying disabled-friendly furniture, and so on. You can include these expenses in your claim.

Transportation Expenses: If you incur additional transportation costs for medical appointments or other travel related to their injury, those expenses can be claimed as economic damages.

Masella Law Firm, P.A. can help you seek financial compensation after a car accident. If you’ve been injured in a car wreck, talk to our team today. You can schedule time with us online or call our office at (803) 938-4952.