Driving a car is an increasingly deadly activity. In 2020, the largest number of people died in motor vehicle crashes since 2007.
This is especially remarkable considering that fewer people have been on the roads since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Driving to work or school often means taking your life in your hands. These days, it’s not a question of if you’ll get into an accident, but rather, when.
If you’ve been the victim of a car accident, you’ve probably figured out that you deserve compensation.
Recovering for things like missed work and medical bills is typically straightforward. But how do you get compensated for pain and suffering after a car accident?
In this article, our team at the Law Office of Chuck Geerhart will walk you through the basics of car accident pain and suffering cases.
Only an experienced car accident lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve.
What Is Pain and Suffering in a Car Accident?
After a car accident, suing for pain and suffering is considered seeking non-economic damages. Non-economic damages are damages that can’t be easily proved by bills and receipts.
Instead, the parties have to agree on a reasonable amount or a judge or jury will make a determination about what the amount should be. Economic damages are usually damages that can be quantified.
Car accident pain and suffering typically comes from any of the following:
- Chronic stress;
- General anxiety;
- Emotional distress;
- Flashbacks, panic attacks, or nightmares;
- Loss of enjoyment of life;
- Physical aches and pains;
- Loss of consortium; and
- Permanent disability, scarring, or disfigurement.
This is not an exhaustive list. Pain and suffering—car accident-related and otherwise—typically has both physical and mental components.
Each car accident victim experiences pain and suffering differently. If you’ve been the victim of a car accident, make sure to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer about your specific case.
How Is Car Accident Pain and Suffering Determined?
Before filing a lawsuit or negotiating with an insurance company when claiming pain and suffering after a car accident, you’ll need to understand how to calculate your damages.
There are many ways to determine your amount of pain and suffering. An experienced car accident injury lawyer can help you determine how to frame your claim.
Some factors to consider include:
- How has your day-to-day life been changed since the accident?
- Were you hospitalized and for how long?
- Do you have limitations on your mobility?
- Do you have limitations on your independence?
- Are you now disfigured and is it permanent?
- Are you able to do the same work you were doing before?
- Can you sleep?
- Can you fulfill your obligations in a substantially similar way to before the accident?
If your answers to most of these questions show that your quality of life has seriously declined since your accident, make sure you have gathered a lot of evidence to support your claims.
This will be essential to help you in a lawsuit or settlement negotiation.
What Evidence Do You Need After a Car Accident?
How do you actually prove car accident pain and suffering? Pain and suffering is one of the most difficult aspects of damages to prove.
You’re the only person who can know how much mental and physical pain you’re in. Accordingly, you’ll need to gather and maintain every scrap of evidence to demonstrate and support your claims.
Types of Evidence
Evidence to support a claim of pain and suffering after a car accident usually consists of objective and subjective proof.
Some of the best types of evidence to demonstrate pain and suffering after a car accident include:
- Photos of yourself and your car at the accident scene;
- Photos of your injuries at the accident scene and as they heal;
- Medical records and itemized bills;
- Medical imaging including radiology reports or recommended treatment protocols;
- Receipts for medications;
- Doctors’ notes or chart notes;
- Financial proof of lost wages following the accident;
- Personal journals, social media, or other contemporaneous documentation about your thoughts and feelings following the accident;
- Statements from family and friends about your pain and changes in your life since the accident; and
- Lists of activities, work, hobbies or responsibilities you can no longer participate in because of your physical or mental pain following the accident
There is no magic formula for what information will best prove your claim for pain and suffering. The facts of each case are different. A personal injury lawyer can help you choose how to best present your claim.
A Word of Caution
As you recover, you should feel confident about discussing your pain and feelings with your friends, family, doctor, therapist, and lawyer. But be careful what you put out on the internet and what you say to strangers.
And never talk to an insurance adjuster without your lawyer present. Insurance companies may try to record your statements about your condition only to use them against you later.
By doing this, they can rob you of the compensation you deserve!
How The Law Office of Chuck Geerhart Can Help
Attorney Chuck Geerhart has over 30 years of experience helping folks like you get the compensation you deserve after a car accident.
We’ve seen all the tricks that insurance companies use, and we’re not afraid to go all the way to court for you. We’re on your side to protect your rights so you can concentrate on your mental and physical healing.
Contact us today for a case consultation.