What is Considered Pain and Suffering After an Accident?
The upcoming holiday is one with some of the highest crash and fatalities rates each and every year. With more traffic on the road, drowsy and drunk driving, bad weather, and out-of-town drivers, chances for mishaps are far greater. Often, when accidents happen, there is minor damage to vehicles involved and few injuries. However, there are many other times when accidents spell trouble for injured drivers and their families.
If you or your family is injured in an accident, you may suffer not only financial and property damage but also ‘pain and suffering.’ Pain and suffering includes the physical pain that results from an accident as well as the emotional damage, including anxiety, stress, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life.
So, what is considered pain and suffering after an accident? Let’s examine examples of pain and suffering, how to prove pain and suffering in a personal injury case, and how damages are measured.
Examples of Pain and Suffering
The legal term ‘pain and suffering’ describes both the physical injuries and emotional injuries suffered by an accident victim. Physical injuries can not only be painful immediately after an accident, but they can also cause long-term chronic pain. Emotional injuries can be just as painful causing mental and psychological stress for days, weeks, or sometimes even years.
Some physical injuries that may qualify for pain and suffering compensation include:
- Neck, back, and spine injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Knee injuries
- Torn ligaments
- Broken bones
Emotional injuries that may qualify for pain and suffering in a personal injury lawsuit include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Embarrassment or humiliation
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Cognitive changes after a brain injury
In some cases, a personal injury accident can result in a fatality. In this situation, the family can sue for a type of pain and suffering called ‘loss of consortium.’ A loss of consortium is when certain family members of the victim—enumerated by the law—go through pain and suffering caused by their death and experience loss of companionship, loss of services and other damages. They may experience extreme mental anguish including grief, anger, or loss of parental guidance.
If you were injured in a car accident, motorcycle accident, or in any type of accident that was caused by the carelessness, negligence or recklessness of another, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and pain and suffering. Proving a pain and suffering case can be complicated, so it’s important to get a personal injury attorney on your side as soon as possible.
How to Prove Pain and Suffering
In Pennsylvania, accident victims can sue for two different types of pain and suffering: economic damages or losses and non-economic damages or losses. An economic loss is one that is quantifiable, or has a determined financial cost, including medical bills, medical equipment (wheelchairs, prostheses, accessible vehicles), lost wages, future medical expenses and an increase in the cost of living.
Non-economic pain and suffering losses are intangible and do not have costs that are clearly defined. Non-economic losses are generally tied to physical, emotional and psychological issues and are almost always part of the aftermath of a commercial vehicle, motorcycle or other auto accident. Although non-economic losses are not specifically quantifiable, they still have very real effects on, and costs to, the accident victim.
If you were in an accident, it takes thorough documentation and evidence to support a pain and suffering claim. Acceptable evidence to support a pain and suffering claim includes:
- Police records
- Physician reports
- Photographic or video evidence from the scene of the accident
- Proof of treatment by a mental health professional
- Personal journals of the accident victim
- Sworn statements from the accident victim’s family and friends
Pain and suffering cases can be difficult to prove without the help of an experienced personal injury attorney. The best injury and accident lawyers in Lancaster, PA and Central Pennsylvania have decades of experience building these claims, presenting them to insurance companies and litigating these issues before judges and juries. Before accepting a settlement offer from an insurance company, reach out to a top-notch attorney to discuss your options. The right law firm can help you prove your case and help you receive the compensation you deserve after your accident.
How Pain and Suffering is Measured
There is no standard calculation or rule for how much money should be awarded in a pain and suffering case. Insurance companies likely use an internal calculation or computer program to calculate pain and suffering that is dependent on the treatment plan, the type of accident, and the type of injury. If the insurance company feels the treatment plans were excessive, they may not include all of the treatment in their calculation.
If your case gets to a judge or jury, the amount of money you can recover is dependent on the type of evidence gathered. Evidence can include witness testimony, medical records, copies of medical bills, and testimony from accident victims and their friends and family members. In addition to the documented evidence, the factfinder will also take into account:
- Your age
- The type of injury you suffered
- How your injury affects you on a daily basis and will affect your future quality of life. Can you still enjoy your hobbies? Are you able to socialize? Can you run errands and do chores? In other words, how does your life, post-accident, compare with your life, pre-accident, and what toll are your injuries taking on your quality of life. All of these factors can affect your pain and suffering compensation.
Because pain and suffering cases require solid evidence and documentation, it’s important to consider working with a personal injury law firm that has experience with pain and suffering cases. Lancaster, PA’s best accident and injury attorneys can help you determine what is a fair pain and suffering settlement for your personal injury case and make sure that all of the appropriate evidence supporting your pain and suffering is presented to the insurance company and, if necessary, a jury.
Your Pain and Suffering Personal Injury Law Firm in Lancaster County, Pa.
Injury accidents can not only result in physical injuries and huge medical expenses but also can cause long-term pain and suffering. If you have been in any accident caused by the negligence of others, you may have a pain and suffering personal injury claim. Reach out to Georgelis Injury Law Firm as soon as possible to discuss your options. Our team of aggressive, experienced, and compassionate personal injury lawyers can help you recover lost wages, damages, out-of-pocket medical expenses, and compensation for pain and suffering.
Insurance companies have a team of lawyers on their side, and you deserve the same level of representation for your case. The legal system can feel overwhelming and frustrating, especially after an accident that caused pain and suffering. At Georgelis Injury Law Firm, we have been helping accident victims for decades on accident injury cases. We can help you through the legal process and protect your rights.
The attorneys at Georgelis Injury Law have tried over 100 cases before juries and handled thousands of hearings and workers’ compensation proceedings. We have over 170 Google reviews, all of them 5-star. Georgelis Injury Law Firm has been voted the best injury and accident lawyers in Lancaster, PA—as part of Lancaster County Magazine’s “Best of Lancaster” annual survey—for 9 years running. Reach out today for a no-obligation, free consultation. We have recovered more than $70,000,000 for our clients and have won 99% of our personal injury cases. Call us today at 1-800-HURT-NOW or touch base through our website, www.GeorgelisLaw.com. Georgelis Injury Law never charges a fee for our time—we only get paid when we get you the compensation you deserve!