If you were injured in a car accident, you will most likely require some sort of medical treatment for those injuries. While an adjuster for the insurance company of the at-fault driver will review the bills for this medical treatment in order to evaluate the claim, there will not be much discussion on your pain and suffering present during recovery. In attempting to handle a claim on your own, you will likely find an adjuster will only offer a small amount on top of the medical bills that is meant to compensate for this pain and suffering. Even worse, sometimes adjusters will try to pay you before you are done treating which could leave you OWING money for you bills.
Pain and suffering compensation is not as clear-cut as reimbursement for your medical bills. Your bills simply take some quick addition to come to a total amount. This is where it pays to have an attorney from Miller, Dawson, Sigal & Ward Injury Attorneys in your corner. Making sure all factors are included in order to properly determine your pain and suffering are what our attorneys are trained to do and have done on literally thousands of cases. Our firm’s goal is to make sure our clients receive the care needed to get better and then to make sure all forms of compensation are recovered from the at-fault party.
This article first defines what exactly pain and suffering is and then outlines all factors that may need consideration when determining the value of your pain and suffering. Whether your pain and suffering will last two weeks, two years, or your entire lifetime, it pays to have an attorney from Miller, Dawson, Sigal and Ward Injury Attorneys fighting for you when it comes time for proper compensation.
WHAT IS PAIN AND SUFFERING?
Most personal injury cases will address various forms of pain and suffering, but you might still wonder “what is pain and suffering?” To be defined, pain and suffering are the noneconomic damages in a personal injury case. In other words, these are damages that are not easily assigned an immediate value like your total medical bills. There are two are kinds of pain and suffering: physical and mental.
PHYSICAL PAIN AND SUFFERING
Physical injuries suffered in an accident fall into the category of physical pain and suffering. This refers both to your current physical injuries and impairments and to any long-lasting physical issues that are likely to be related to the accident in the future. On top of the actual medical bills present from treating the physical injuries suffered, the law provides for compensation related to the physical pain and suffering from these injuries. For instance, while you are entitled to reimbursement for the costs to repair a broken bone or to treat a concussion or general body aches and pains, you are also entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering felt at the time the injury occurred and subsequently thereafter as you are forced to recover.
MENTAL PAIN AND SUFFERING
Mental pain and suffering refers to psychological problems or destructive emotions brought on by an injury. This type of pain and suffering is often a result of the physical pain and suffering discussed in the previous section. There are several different symptoms of mental pain and suffering that you might experience but may not immediate attribute to your car accident. Some of the symptoms of mental pain and suffering can be classified as:
- Emotional distress;
- Loss of enjoyment of life;
- Mental agony;
- Post-traumatic stress disorder;
- Humiliation or embarrassment;
- Sleep disorders;
- Sexual dysfunction; and/or
- Mood swings.
LINKING PHYSICAL AND MENTAL PAIN AND SUFFERING
A close relationship exists between physical and mental pain and suffering. It is not uncommon for physical injuries to lead to some or all of the above-outlined mental issues. Our clients will sometimes require assistance from a therapist or psychologist to help work through the psychological problems that are present after a car accident.
If a link is established showing your mental problems resulted from your car accident, you may be entitled to pain and suffering damages for both the physical and mental symptoms present following the wreck.
THE SEVERITY OF PAIN AND SUFFERING
Due to the subjective nature of pain and suffering, this is one of the areas where our attorneys can add substantial value to your claim. Severity of pain and suffering is difficult to determine. The most common factors to be considered will include:
- The severity and duration of emotional or physical suffering;
- The type of injuries sustained;
- The likelihood for the injuries to cause additional problems in the future;
- The presence of any pre-existing conditions; and/or
- Any evidence that supports your claims, such as a doctor’s notes, journal entries, or accounts from witnesses.
Your personal situation may also be key in determining the severity of your pain and suffering. A common example is that while a hand injury may merely be an inconvenience to an office worker, the same injury could end the career of a surgeon and in turn cause significantly greater emotional distress.
PROOF OF PAIN AND SUFFERING
As with all claims, adequate evidence must be presented to prove pain and suffering. This evidence may be in the form of the medical records of your physical injuries that support a claim of physical pain and suffering, therapy appointments, journal entries outlining the hardships and effects on everyday life, and/or affidavits from friends, family members, or coworkers that outline personality changes in you or challenges faced by you since your accident.
DETERMINING THE VALUE OF YOUR PAIN AND SUFFERING
A number of considerations may affect your overall compensation. Several of the same factors used to determine the severity of your pain and suffering, such as the type of injuries sustained and the way these injuries will impact your overall quality of life both now and in the future, will be used in determining a fair value for these hardships.
Allowing one of our experienced South Carolina car accident lawyers to work on your behalf can also help you get greater compensation. Since there is no direct monetary link between an injury and the resulting symptoms currently in place, getting the right value for pain and suffering often proves to be quite a challenge. But with our attorneys’ experience in personal injury cases, it’s often much easier to get adequate compensation for your physical and mental damages compared to attempting to handle a claim on your own.