What is Pain and Suffering in a Car Accident Case?
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Car accidents are incredibly scary and difficult to deal with. It is a headache to deal with the police, insurance companies, and attorneys when the first thing on your mind is trying to heal. Car accidents may lead to mild and serious bodily injuries that leave recovering victims struggling to get their lives back on track. Sometimes these injuries even become permanent, which has a lasting effect on victims’ everyday lives.
Don’t suffer through the legal process alone. Speak with an experienced attorney who has helped victims recover pain and suffering damages after a car accident. Our attorneys at Zinda Law Group have that experience and may be able to help you with your potential claim today.
CAR ACCIDENT STATISTICS
According to the National Safety Council, about 4.4 million people were seriously injured in car accidents in 2019, and over 38,000 people lost their lives. Although these numbers were down from previous years, the statistics still show that car accidents are a prevalent and serious issue on our roadways. While many people who are involved in car crashes experience little if any injury, these crashes sometimes lead to a myriad of injuries that may affect victims for the rest of their lives.
Although it may be obvious to some, one of the best things you can do to protect yourself from getting in an accident or from being seriously injured in an accident is to follow basic roadway safety rules. This includes paying attention, following the speed limit, and most importantly wearing a seatbelt. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that in 2017 37,133 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes. 4% of those people were not wearing a seatbelt. Moreover, in 2017 alone seatbelts saved about 15,000 lives and could have saved thousands more if people had been complying with this simple safety protocol when operating or riding as a passenger in a vehicle.
TYPES OF DAMAGES
When you file a personal injury claim, generally, there will be two types of damages available to you. These two types are referred to as economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages compensate you for expenses that can be easily calculated. This may include medical bills, lost wages, and other incidental costs of getting your life back on track after an accident. All of these costs have a price tag and may be easily quantifiable.
Non-economic damages, however, are not so easily calculated. These damages typically seek to compensate a victim for long-lasting emotional injuries. Typically, this is referred to as pain and suffering. Experienced attorneys generally calculate pain and suffering by taking your amount of medical costs and multiplying it by a number between 1-5 depending on the severity of your injuries. This number allows them to determine how much compensation you may be entitled to for pain and suffering.
In some cases, punitive damages may be available. Punitive damages are not designed to compensate victims, but rather are to punish the defendant’s conduct. That is why these damages are only available in certain types of personal injury cases. Courts are reluctant to award punitive damages for anything except egregious conduct.
Learn More: How to Calculate the Value of Case
HOW PAIN AND SUFFERING IS CALCULATED
Pain and suffering damages are based upon your medical bills and the severity of your injuries. More specifically, insurance companies generally look at what types of injuries you have and whether or not they are permanent. This will allow them to deduce how much your life will be affected by your injuries going forward. At the end of the day, that is what calculating pain and suffering is about. The more severe your injuries, the more compensation you may be entitled to seek pain and suffering because you are more likely to be living with psychological or emotional consequences from your accident for a while.
FACTORS THAT MAY CONTRIBUTE TO PAIN AND SUFFERING
Whether or not you will be awarded compensation for pain and suffering really depends on the unique characteristics of your accident and injuries. The following are a list of factors that may be considered when calculating your non-economic damages:
- The permanency of your injuries
- What you were able to do before your accident
- What you are able to do after the accident
- Can you still work?
- Can you still be physically active?
- Do you have any emotional struggles?
WHAT TO DO AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT
Seek Medical Attention
No matter what, the most important thing to do after a collision is to seek medical attention for any bodily injuries. This is important first and foremost because we want to encourage everyone to be safe and receive treatment for their injuries. Second, receiving professional medical treatment can make a big difference in your claim because a doctor can create an official record of your injuries and treatment plan.
Call the Police
Calling the police to the scene of an accident is always important. Calling the police to the scene to give them the details of what happened shortly after you have been hit or you have hit someone else has a lot of benefits. First, your memory recall will be better. People often forgo getting the police involved initially because after an accident they just want to get everyone’s information and go home. However, the longer you wait to discuss your story of what happened, the harder it becomes to remember details that could be important later. Second, the police can create an official report that can be used as evidence when bringing a claim. Your attorney and insurance will use this report to help you with your claim.
Document the Scene
Good documentation in a car accident case can be extremely helpful to your claim. No matter how clear-cut the accident seems, there are always a lot of unanswered questions that come up, such as from your insurance company. The more tangible evidence you have to support your claim, the better. Document anything and everything you can by taking photos, making notes, and speaking with any eyewitnesses who might have seen the accident take place.
Speak with an Attorney
Having an attorney with experience with pain and suffering in car accident cases is the best way to protect yourself from being taken advantage of. An attorney may be able to help open a claim with your insurance carrier and negotiate compensation. This may sound simple, but when requesting compensation for pain and suffering, the negotiation process can be a lot more complex. You are no longer asking to be compensated for something that has a set price tag on it. An attorney may be able to assist you in the process of determining what you are owed and arguing for why you should be paid that amount.
HOW CAN AN ATTORNEY HELP?
Suffering an injury after an accident can be overwhelming. The last thing that any victim needs is the burden of haggling with an insurance company about money. Having an attorney may be able to lighten this burden and can additionally heighten your chances of receiving damages for pain and suffering after your car accident. Our attorneys at Zinda Law Group have the experience to negotiate effectively with insurance companies. If ultimately you are not extended a settlement offer that feels right to you, our team has the tools to advise you on your options going forward. These options include filing a lawsuit or even going to trial.
Our car accident lawyers at Zinda Law Group help victims get their lives back on track after suffering an injury by helping them build a strong case against the responsible party. Our lawyers have the negotiation strategies necessary, and we may be able to help you pursue the maximum compensation you may be entitled to. We never want anyone to feel like they can’t afford excellent representation. That is why our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This means that unless we secure you compensation for your injuries, you don’t owe us any money. You can call our office today at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation.
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