Many people know the financial cost of being hurt in a car accident. For injury victims, medical bills and lost wages can add up quickly. But there is also a physical and emotional cost that is less well-known. Those who have been injured in a car crash may find that their life has been turned upside down, and they are unable to do the things they used to do.
This experience is what is part of what is known as “pain and suffering,” and if this describes your situation, you may be able to get compensation for your injuries. If you’re experiencing pain and suffering after a car accident, you may be wondering if you are entitled to compensation and, if so, how much.
The answer is different for everyone. There are several factors that can impact how much your claim is worth. Keep reading to learn more about pain and suffering and how the value of a claim for pain and suffering is determined.
First, you should know what “pain and suffering” is, and whether your situation may qualify you for this type of compensation.
There are two types of damages available for an accident-related injury: economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are out-of-pocket expenses, such as hospital bills, medical treatment, and lost wages. These damages are more easily quantified in a personal injury case.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, compensate injury victims for other effects associated with an injury. These often relate to the human experience, including the physical and emotional challenges faced after a car accident. The concept of pain and suffering falls into this category. An injury victim who experiences emotional distress, or a loss of enjoyment in life, because of an injury, may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering.
Because New York is a “no-fault insurance” state, economic damages such as lost income and medical expenses are typically covered by the no-fault insurance company. No-fault insurance means that, regardless of fault, an injury victim is entitled to compensation. However, under New York State law, to make a claim for pain and suffering and receive compensation, you may need to prove that you have suffered a “serious injury.”
A “serious injury” is a legal term that can be unclear and sometimes difficult to demonstrate. The term refers to personal injury that results in:
• significant disfigurement;
• a fracture;
• loss of a fetus;
• permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system; permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member;
• significant limitation of use of a body function or system; or
• a medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than ninety days during the one hundred eighty days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.
Speak to an experienced personal injury attorney to determine whether your injuries fall under one of these categories.
To prove a claim for pain and suffering, your car accident attorney may gather evidence to establish that you have sustained a serious injury that impacts your day-to-day routine. Evidence can include medical records and reports, expert testimony, an official medical prognosis, and photo documentation. In addition to suffering a serious injury, you must show that another driver is at least partly liable for the car accident that caused your injuries.
After a car accident, you may find yourself unable to spend time with loved ones, participate in activities that you enjoy (such as outdoor activities), or sleep through the night. Payment for pain and suffering will take into account these various obstacles.
While compensation for pain and suffering is important, the specific amount of compensation given to injury victims is somewhat subjective. However, some factors can be considered when determining the value of your claim.
Factors that impact compensation for pain and suffering
Several factors are often considered when determining compensation for pain and suffering. A jury may consider the physical pain and limitations you are experiencing, as well as emotional distress. Other factors include your abilities prior to the car accident and the degree to which your daily life has been disrupted after the car accident.
At William Mattar, our accident attorneys can review your case and fight to get you the maximum financial compensation available for pain and suffering.
If someone negligently caused you to experience pain and suffering, that person’s insurance company will likely be required to indemnify that person and pay you for your pain and suffering. If the person who caused your pain and suffering does not have insurance, then you may have to turn to your own insurance company to make up the difference. This known as uninsured motorist (UM) or supplementary underinsured motorist (SUM) coverage.
Many claims for pain and suffering are settled among the involved parties. Other claims, however, never reach a settlement and may proceed to trial. This can happen if the insurance company does not agree with the proposed amount of compensation for pain and suffering.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, contact William Mattar law offices today. Our personal injury team is prepared to handle your claim for pain and suffering so that you can focus on recovery. Don’t wait to get started — call (844) 444-4444 or complete our online form to schedule your free initial consultation. Our accident lawyers are standing by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to speak with you about your case.