Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering After a Car Accident?
- June 2
- Evans & Herlihy
- Vehicle Accidents
If you were injured in a car accident and want compensation for what you’ve been through, you may wonder, can you sue for pain and suffering after a car accident? Pain and suffering are damages sought in an insurance claim or lawsuit. Damages measure in dollars the harm you suffered. Car accident pain and suffering can’t be easily converted into dollars, but there are methods used to fairly compensate accident victims.
Evans & Herlihy Law Firm protects the rights and interests of accident victims. If you’ve been in an injury in a car accident, pain and suffering may be a regular part of your life. Severe injuries can be life-changing events that deprive you of an active, full life. You should get compensation for the mental and physical pain and suffering you go through.
What are Pain and Suffering Damages?
Pain and suffering damages include physical, psychological, and emotional pain and suffering caused by an accident. They cover physical pain due to broken bones, internal injuries, burns, back and neck injuries, headaches, or other physical harm. Also covered is the pain you endure due to medical treatments and rehabilitation. Chronic pain can be a part of an accident victim’s life for years or decades. Physical and emotional pain due to scarring or disfigurement are also covered.
Damages include psychological pain and suffering. You may be traumatized and relive the accident over and over. You may second-guess yourself, thinking about what might have been done to avoid the accident and its aftermath. The more severe the accident and effects, the more likely you’ll be psychologically and emotionally impacted:
- You can suffer shock because of the accident and the prospect of lingering injuries
- You may feel humiliated because of the loss of control over your life
- Daily life may be made more difficult
- You may grieve the loss of your life, career, and retirement plans that may never become reality
- You may be anxious about your future
- Relationships with others may suffer
- You may lose companionship, love, affection, sex, and moral support from a spouse or partner (loss of consortium)
- You may become isolated from others, physically and emotionally
- Never-ending chronic disabilities and pain could make life seem unbearable and cause depression
- Your physical and emotional pain can show itself by constantly feeling stress, never being able to relax, or suffering from insomnia.
Your compensation would cover the pain and suffering you’ve had since the accident and what’s expected to continue.
How Do You Prove Pain and Suffering from a Car Accident?
Damages must be proven to have a successful insurance claim or lawsuit. Many kinds of evidence can be used to establish what you’re going through. Testimony can be used in the form of a deposition (a meeting where parties and witnesses would give sworn statements in response to questions by lawyers for the parties) or at a trial.
You, your healthcare providers, and a medical expert retained for your case can discuss your pain and suffering and how it has impacted your life. Family members could talk about how your life has changed and your emotional state. The expert and your physician could give opinions on how long your pain is expected to continue. If you’re being seen by a mental health professional, that person could also give insight on your state of mind.
You could keep a written journal of your experiences. Through your smartphone, you could record your thoughts or make videos of your experiences. We may use a professional videographer to document how you live your life and the pain you feel. Comparing videos and photos of your life prior to your accident to what it is now can show how limited you’ve become.
An insurance company could also use your social media posts as evidence. It’s wise to limit your posts to subjects unrelated to your physical or mental state. Posts about what a great day you’re having or videos of you being physically active or happy can be used to dispute your claims of living a limited, painful life.
Your medical and psychological records must be released to the insurance company to make a pain and suffering claim. They can show what your life is like. They should describe your diagnosis, limitations, level of pain, progress, and emotional state. They should also document what pain medications you’re using and how much.
Because these records will make you an “open book” to the insurance company, it’s important that they accurately show your life. You must be truthful to those who treat you. You may want to be positive and engage in friendly chit-chat. But inaccurate remarks that you’re “doing OK” or “having a good day” that end up in your records could be interpreted as showing that you’re not in as much pain as you claim.
How Much Do You Get for Pain and Suffering?
There is no standard formula to calculate compensation for pain and suffering. How much you get for pain and suffering depends on how it’s calculated.
An insurance company may use a multiplier to develop a figure for pain and suffering from a car accident. The multiplier can be from 1.5 to 5 times your special damages (medical bills, lost income, out-of-pocket expenses, and other money losses due to the accident). The multiplier can be affected by many things. It can go up or down due to the strength of your case, the type of injuries you suffered, and whether your diagnosis is disputed or not.
Many insurance companies use computer software to determine an offer for pain and suffering. They may consider your injury, your treatment, and the length of your treatment. There may be a discount if you’re treated by a chiropractor instead of a physician, because they’re seen as less credible.
There Will Be No Pain and Suffering Recovery Without an Insurance Claim or Lawsuit
It’s important that you’re compensated for your pain and suffering. For that to happen, an insurance claim and, if necessary, a lawsuit, must be filed. That will never happen if you wait too long to act.
The deadline to file a car accident case is generally two years (for some cases it’s six months). It may take months to prepare an effective car accident case, so don’t delay to the last minute to discuss your case with us. Pick up the phone and call the Evans & Herlihy Law Firm for a free consultation. You can reach us at (512) 732-2727.