How is Pain and Suffering Determined in Car Accident Cases?
If you or somebody you care about has been injured in a car accident, it is likely that you will incur significant medical bills along with property damage and other out-of-pocket expenses. These costs can add up very quickly, but one type of loss that many people do not consider in the aftermath of a car accident is pain and suffering damages. Pain and suffering losses are generally harder to calculate than other types of monetary losses in a car accident case.
Legally, What is Pain and Suffering?
In a civil personal injury case, pain and suffering damages are referred to as “general damages” or “non-economic damages.” There are no bills or receipts that can be gathered to arrive at the value of pain and suffering damages, but that does not make them any less real for a victim.
It is generally understood that, because the significance of an injury is common knowledge, there is a presumption that there will be a certain level of pain and suffering. For example, a broken bone will require medical treatment and possibly even surgery. We know from our common and shared experiences that this injury and the recovery could lead to significant physical and mental pain and suffering.
How Do Insurance Companies Evaluate Pain and Suffering?
One thing you need to know is that insurance carriers do not like to pay out large settlements (or any settlement at all). These companies will do what they can to limit the payments that they make to an injury victim, and they will operate under a very important assumption: if you do not go to the doctor after a car accident, you are probably not in any pain.
Insurance carriers are going to assume that injuries that result in more extensive medical care will include more pain and suffering than injuries that require minimal medical treatment. Insurance carriers will also assume that injuries that require longer recovery times cause more pain and suffering than injuries where there is a short recovery time.
If you choose not to seek medical treatment after sustaining a car accident injury, the insurance carrier will likely not attach much value to your injury. They will do this despite the fact that you may indeed be in pain. Insurance carriers will absolutely need to have proof put in front of them in order for them to pay for pain and suffering damages.
What Types of Evidence Prove Pain and Suffering?
Proving pain and suffering is often difficult, and insurance carriers are going to want to see medical corroboration for your injury. Again, the more severe the injury, the more likely the insurance carrier will be to pay for pain and suffering damages. Additionally, other types of evidence could be used to prove pain and suffering, particularly if a personal injury lawsuit ends up being filed. Some of the evidence that can be used can include:
- A journal. We often recommend that car accident injury victims maintain a journal that keeps track of all medical visits as well as their daily level of pain and suffering. Journals of this nature are often admissible in court.
- Witness testimony. Testimony from those who know you the best can also be invaluable when it comes to proving pain and suffering. Friends and family members can provide testimony about how your pain and suffering caused by the car accident injuries has affected your daily life.
Get Help from a Charleston, WV Car Accident Attorney
If you or somebody you care about has been injured in a car crash, seek assistance from a Charleston accident attorney as soon as possible. At Tiano O’Dell, our qualified and experienced team will get to work conducting a complete investigation into your incident, calculating your total losses, and negotiating with all parties to reach a fair settlement. This includes ensuring you are compensated for your pain and suffering.