Most people are aware that when you suffer an injury from a car accident, you may be entitled to collect damages to cover your medical bills, lost wages and the like. Many, however, are confused about how awards for pain and emotional damage comes into the picture. This is a sort of nebulous idea — people have heard about awards for it, but aren't sure exactly how it works. Here is an overview of how pain and suffering figure into a personal injury case.
What Is Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering is the damage you suffer after an accident that may be related to, but goes beyond medical costs, lost wages and opportunity or loss of companionship. There are essentially two types of damages involving suffering and pain for which you can collect compensation. Both can be very significant and cause years of heartache and difficulty, but both are demonstrated in different ways. These two types of suffering are physical and mental.
Damages for physical pain are often related to the severity of your injury, the kinds of medical care and rehabilitation required, and how much the injury causes you discomfort and suffering. This needn't only cover pain that you have already had or are currently experiencing. It can also involve the discomfort or hurt you are likely to have in the future.
Compensation for mental suffering results from you having been injured in such a way that creates mental and emotional by-products that decrease or harm your quality of life. The anguish you experience from your pain or the difficulty you have maintaining personal relationships can come into play.
Feelings of anger or depression or anxiety, sexual dysfunction, sleep disturbances and disorders such as PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, are all examples of mental suffering. Just like physical suffering, the pain you are likely to continue to experience in the future can be considered when your case is decided.
It can be difficult to value things such as suffering and anguish. Usually, this is done using a multiplier based on the medical bills and lost earnings. This multiplier is adjusted based on things like the credibility of the plaintiff, expert testimony regarding injuries, consistency in the story and the like.
Personal Injury Attorneys
One of the first things many insurance companies will seek to do is get you to sign papers that can limit the damages for which you can sue. Never sign any papers or discuss the accident with anyone but the police before you talk to an experienced and expert personal injury attorney. These cases are complex, and a good attorney knows exactly how to deal with insurance companies to be sure your rights are protected and you always get the full compensation you deserve.
Have you been in an accident that resulted in injury in North Florida? If so, we can help. Read up a bit about automobile accident claims, and then get in touch with our firm today for a free consultation about your case or email us through our contact page.