How Much Will I Get for Pain and Suffering From a Car Accident?Auto Accidents
Getting into a car accident is one of the scariest situations a person can find themselves in, and dealing with the aftermath can be overwhelming. The crash may have left you with severe physical injuries, property damage, mental and emotional trauma, and a long journey to get your life back to normal.
Your damages may cause significant financial loss. You may know that you can recover from the medical bills incurred from the accident and for your property damage. But what about the pain and suffering you endured after getting into a car accident?
Part of your recovery is receiving proper compensation for your pain and suffering. To receive a monetary award for pain and suffering, you must know what qualifies as pain and suffering, how to calculate these damages, and how an accident attorney can help you get the money you deserve for your injuries. To learn more about pain and suffering damages, continue reading.
What Is Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering damages refer to the physical stress and mental and emotional trauma from a car accident and resulting injuries. These are non-economic losses that cover the intangible suffering of crash victims. They do not stem from a specific financial loss like medical bills, so they are harder to determine and prove. You cannot see into a victim’s mind to measure their pain and suffering, so lawyers measure these losses in other ways.
Physical Pain and Suffering
Physical pain and suffering damages are awarded to accident victims to pay for the stress of experiencing the car accident. You will not be paid for economic losses like medical bills or lost income. However, a court will award monetary damages for the harmful impact your physical injuries had on your life and how those injuries will affect your life moving forward.
Mental and Emotional Pain and Suffering
Mental and emotional pain and suffering cover a car accident victim’s psychological harm.
Mental and emotional pain and suffering damages restore an accident victim for the following:
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
Severe injuries can change your life, leading to ongoing pain and suffering.
What Types of Injuries Contribute to Pain and Suffering Damages?
Proof of economic damages and tangible losses can help prove intangible damages. For example, it is easier for an accident plaintiff to prove pain and suffering from physical injuries if they can prove that they had a head injury after the accident.
Examples of physical injuries that can prove pain and suffering damages include:
- Loss of communication ability
- First, second, or third-degree burns across part or whole of the body
- Physical deformities and amputation
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head injuries/traumatic brain injury (TBI)
Call a local personal injury lawyer to help prove these types of damages. Contact an attorney immediately to protect your legal rights if you have suffered an injury in a car accident.
How Can I Prove Pain and Suffering Damages?
An accident plaintiff must prove their pain and suffering damages before receiving payment. If you are pursuing a pain and suffering damages award, you and your attorney must prove your injury with evidence.
Examples of evidence that you and your accident lawyer can use to help prove pain and suffering damages include:
- Medical records will help your attorney explain the severity of your injuries to the insurance company or jury. Medical records can indicate your pain levels and the long-term effects of your injuries.
- Your accident attorney can help prove damages by hiring a medical expert. Expert testimony by a medical doctor proves the extent of your injuries. Expert testimony can also confirm that the car accident caused your injuries.
- Testimony of your friends and family about your personality before and after the accident.
- Testimony from your psychiatrist or review of their records. Mental and emotional anguish may require long-term therapy to address the issues caused by the injuries sustained in the accident.
Ultimately, if you have suffered an injury in an accident, a personal injury lawyer can help you prove your damages. Unrepresented accident victims may have a difficult time getting the expert witnesses that need to prove their damages. If you hire an accident attorney, you can rely on the attorney’s resources to help prove your case.
What Should I Do After an Accident to Help Prove Pain and Suffering Damages?
You must preserve evidence after a car accident. The more evidence you save, the easier it is to prove your damages.
In addition to hanging on to evidence:
- The first thing anyone should do after a car accident is to seek medical attention immediately. You must see a doctor right after the accident. The longer that it takes for you to get medical attention, the harder it is to prove that the injuries you suffered were related to the accident. See a doctor immediately after a car accident, even if you do not think you were seriously injured. Many injuries can lie dormant. For example, you may think your headache is no big deal, but you may have a concussion.
- Hire an attorney immediately. Personal injury lawyers work hard to protect their client’s legal rights. Call a local accident attorney to ensure that you put yourself in the best position for maximum recovery.
- Keep your medical records and bills organized for ease of review. You must present a timeline of your injury’s progression, and the associated expenses, to an insurance adjuster or jury. Keeping a complete history of your medical records and costs assists your attorney as they try to build your case.
- Avoid talking to an insurance company without an attorney. Insurance companies work hard to protect their interests. If you speak to an insurance company without representation, you may lock yourself into your story and lose the chance of recovering compensation.
How Can an Accident Attorney Help Me Prove Pain and Suffering Damages?
The best way to maximize a potential settlement amount after a car accident is to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer. An accident attorney can protect your legal rights and ensure you receive the maximum compensation after an accident. If you hire an accident attorney, you can trust that you will get a better outcome for your claim. An accident attorney can help you in the following ways:
Take Care of All the Legalities
Your lawyer will work on your behalf and take care of all the legal matters. If you hire a lawyer, there is no need for you to worry about how to follow procedural rules, how to respond to correspondence from insurance companies, or what to say in court. If you have an attorney, you can keep your focus solely on recovery.
Help Build Your Case
An attorney can help you build your case. Your attorney will help by preparing you to tell your story at trial. An experienced accident attorney knows the importance of telling a compelling story to a jury. During trial preparation, your attorney will train you not to downplay your injuries. Remember, you deserve full compensation if you suffered an injury in a car accident.
Get Access to Medical Care
Some doctors hesitate when they meet a patient hurt in a car accident. Some physicians avoid caring for accident victims because they do not want to be involved in a lawsuit. Your attorney can help you pursue medical care even if you must find a doctor other than your primary care physician.
Negotiate on Your Behalf
This is likely your first lawsuit, and insurance companies know that. Insurance companies will try to take advantage of your lack of experience. Your car accident lawyer will take on the insurance company and negotiate a satisfactory settlement on your behalf, including negotiating payment for pain and suffering. If you have suffered an injury in an accident, call a personal injury lawyer in your area.
What if I Cannot Afford an Attorney?
People often worry about expensive legal fees after an accident. If you cannot afford an attorney, do not worry. Many personal injury lawyers across the country represent car accident victims on a contingency fee basis.
A contingency fee agreement is a payment structure that car accident lawyers and clients agree to. In a contingency fee agreement, the client pays nothing for legal services until the case concludes.
The terms of a contingency fee agreement must be in writing and signed by both the attorney and the client. Be sure you understand the agreement’s terms before you sign it. During the initial consultation with your attorney, you will discuss the agreement.
Two standard terms of contingency fee agreements include who will pay the litigation costs and how much the attorney will receive as payment after the case settles.
Litigation costs are costs associated with moving the case forward. During a lawsuit, litigation expenses can include filing fees, copies, postage, etc. Your attorney may prepay litigation expenses and require reimbursement at the end of the case. The client may choose to pay litigation costs as the case continues.
The most important term in a contingency agreement is the attorney’s fees. Typically, an attorney receives a percentage of the final settlement as payment. However, even after these fees, the right representation can ensure you still have enough left to cover your losses.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney Today
Hiring an accident attorney is the best way to set yourself up for success as you pursue a car accident claim. Car accident lawyers work hard to push back against the tactics of insurance companies so their clients get the compensation they need to recover fully.
You do not need to go it alone after an accident. Contact a local personal injury lawyer to get representation for your accident claim. Protect your right to compensation after suffering a car accident injury.
Nathan Hughey, an attorney and fourth-generation South Carolinian, founded Hughey Law Firm in 2007. Before that, he spent five years defending nursing homes and insurance companies. Leveraging his experience, he now advocates for those injured or wronged by such entities, securing over $220 million in verdicts and settlements.