How Do I Make a Pain and Suffering Claim After an Accident?
This is another in our series on car accident claims. So many of us experience an accident, but do we really know what do to, how to get help, or what our rights are? This series can help.
If you've been injured in a car accident, you know you may be able to get reimbursed for hospital and medical bills. But what if those injuries were severe enough to cause you ongoing pain and suffering? For example, what if you are confined to a hospital or your home for an extended amount of time? What if your injuries damaged your marriage or other relationships? And what if, even after medical treatment, you'll still suffer from soreness, aches, or discomfort?
Pain and suffering, legally speaking, is generally defined as mental or physical distress for which you can recover damages in a personal injury case. So how do you make a pain and suffering injury claim in a car accident case, how hurt do you have to be, and how do you prove it?
Making a Pain and Suffering Claim
The process of claiming pain and suffering after a car accident could depend on where you live. Not all states treat pain and suffering claims the same way: some states allow juries to assume some level of pain and suffering; some require more specific levels of proof; and some may put caps on how much a plaintiff can receive to compensate for pain and suffering. All of these factors will affect how you make your claim.
Your specific injuries may also affect a pain suffering claim. For instance, if you suffer from chronic migraines after a serious head injury, your claim may look different than someone who has anxiety attacks at large intersections after getting T-boned.
Pain and Suffering Injuries
Courts will generally consider several factors when determining pain and suffering liability:
- The Type of Injury: Serious brain injuries, those that result in long-term debilitation, or those that cause constant pain are more likely to require compensation.
- The Severity of the Pain Suffered: The level of pain at the time of the accident, and the extent to which pain or mental anguish continues afterwards can be considered.
- The Prognosis for Future Pain: This factor can take into account the victim's age as well as the degree of certainty with which the future pain and suffering can be diagnosed.
Proving Pain and Suffering
Providing legal proof of pain and suffering will depend largely on the exact nature of the injuries. Demonstrating limited mobility or physical functioning is different from proving anxiety or panic attacks. Medical records and doctors' reports are a good start, but you may also need expert witnesses to testify regarding your condition.
A good lawyer will know how to make a compelling pain and suffering claim. If you've been injured in a car accident, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your case.
- Find Personal Injury Lawyers in Your Area (FindLaw's Lawyer Directory)
- What Kinds of Damages May I Claim for Car Accident Injuries? (FindLaw's Learn About the Law)
- Economic Recovery for Accidents and Injuries (FindLaw's Learn About the Law)
- 3 Things to Know About Whiplash Injuries (FindLaw's Injured)
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.