Car accidents are a fact of life if you spend any amount of time in a car. There are an average of 6 million car accidents in the US every year. Some may only result in damage to your vehicle, but others can cause significant physical injuries.
If you were in a car accident thanks to someone else’s negligence, then you’re probably trying to determine how to recover and move on from your accident. Filing a lawsuit in which you request pain and suffering damages is a great way to do that. Read on to learn more about this specific form of legal compensation.
What Is Pain and Suffering?
The first thing you need to know about pain and suffering damages is what they are. Depending on where you live, the actual legal definition of pain and suffering may be different. In general, however, it is defined as a form of non-economic damages.
In order to be eligible for pain and suffering damages, you need to prove one of several things. Either you’ve had a significant and permanent loss of any bodily function, you have an injury that is permanent, you have permanent scarring or disfigurement, or your loved one died wrongfully.
Pain and suffering examples include physical pain you’ve endured as a result of your car accident. Maybe you’ve lost important bodily functions or you can no longer walk. You might also deal with chronic pain or mental anxiety throughout the remainder of your life because of your accident.
How Are Pain and Suffering Damages Calculated?
One of the biggest questions you probably have is how much are pain and suffering worth? There’s no singular answer to this question. States often limit how much you’re able to recover in pain and suffering damages.
Jurors can award pain and suffering damages at trial. Their calculations are based on a number of calculation methods, including a per diem method. If the judge disagrees with the award, it may be changed. Speak with your attorney to better manage your expectations with regard to this type of award.
Tips for Success in Court
You know that the other driver’s insurance company isn’t just going to hand you a paycheck for pain and suffering. If you want to recover anything beyond the bare minimum, then you need to fight for your right to compensation. The best way to do that is to assert your rights immediately following your accident by following these tips.
Contact an Attorney Right Away
If you’ve only ever been in minor car accidents, then you’re probably used to handling car insurance companies on your own. When serious physical and financial injuries are involved, however, you need to take things to the next level. The best thing you can do after your accident is to call an attorney to help you navigate the recovery process.
Your attorney knows the ins and outs of working with car insurance companies. They also know what you can expect to receive in terms of damages as a result of your accident. With this in mind, they help guide you on all of the steps you need to take in order to have a successful case.
How do you find one? A simple Google search for something like “Jacksonville personal injury attorney” ought to put you on the right track to finding representation.
Thoroughly Document the Car Crash Scene
It’s a good rule of thumb to document as much of the car accident scene as possible as soon as you safely can. Take photographs of the time in which the accident occurred, the location, and vehicles and surrounding areas. If you’ve been injured, take pictures of your injuries.
Some soft tissue injuries take time to develop, so plan on taking more pictures if injuries continue to show up. When it comes to lawsuits of this nature, you cannot have too much documentation. You should also know that the other party will do the same, so it’s important not to make any statements about your injuries before you’ve been evaluated by a physician.
Seek Medical Care
It’s important that you seek medical care as soon as possible after your accident, and continue seeking medical care as long as you are injured. Medical documentation is the most powerful tool that you’ll have in your arsenal when it comes to seeking damages for pain and suffering.
Ask your doctor for your medical records to give to your attorney. You may also need to provide previous medical records to show that you did not already have an injury. The opposing party might also ask that you get an evaluation from their own physician to learn more about your injuries.
Document Your Lost Ability to Enjoy Your Life
The final thing you’ll need to do as part of your case is to essentially journal about how your injuries are impacting your life. What about your life has changed irreparably because of the accident? Your attorney might also recommend that you speak to a forensic psychologist who can testify to the impact they’ve had.
Talk to your attorney about what other forms of documentation you need in order to bolster your case.
You Deserve Compensation for Your Injuries
Car accidents aren’t always preventable, but you can take action to protect yourself after you’ve gotten into one. Pain and suffering damages are just one of the forms of compensation you can ask for when you’ve injured physically and financially thanks to someone else’s negligence on the road. Make sure you hire an attorney, and you’ll be well on your way to recovery.
Navigating the legal world is difficult, especially when you’re just starting your legal journey. Be sure to check out the rest of our blog for tons of great resources that’ll make your case much easier to handle.