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What is Your Pain Worth? Understanding Compensation after a Car Crash.

What is Your Pain Worth Understanding Compensation after a Car Crash.

Getting injured, especially when it’s someone else’s fault, can be exhausting. It can leave you feeling angry, hurt, and unsure. When the injury comes after a car accident, you might have to work with insurance agents and coordinate doctor visits, understand sick policies while trying to get better, and, at some point in the process, understand exactly what your injury is worth. And getting to that number is complex.

In this blog, we will explore how to determine what your pain and suffering might be worth. 

What does pain and suffering mean in legal terms? 

Pain and suffering is the “physical or emotional distress resulting from an injury,” as defined by Law.com. A person injured by another can receive monetary payment in a personal injury lawsuit or claim.

How Pain and Suffering Affects Your Personal Injury Case

Personal injury cases shouldn’t be taken care of on your own because there are so many things to consider.  As a victim, your primary focus should be to get better. Here are some of the factors that will affect your case:

The severity of your injury: You might be injured in varying degrees.  You should understand the degree of injury and how long your recovery takes.  In addition, you should consider loss of mobility, chronic pain, and any permanent disability.

Impact on Career: How soon will you be able to return to work? Will you be able to work at full capacity? Did you incur lost wages or reduced earning potential due to these injuries?

Emotional Distress: This is often overlooked because it might seem more subjective.  However, it is essential to determine if you have suffered any emotional impact as a result of your car accident.  This type of distress could show up as heightened anxiety, depression, psychological trauma, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  If you think that you have been affected emotionally, you should get the help that you need. 

Loss of Enjoyment of Life: This is the impact that a traumatic event (like a car accident) can have on your lifestyle, including the inability to engage in hobbies, exercise, sports, or any other activities you previously enjoyed.

Impact on Relationships: Being involved in a severe traffic accident can put a strain on personal relationships.  You may experience an adverse change in your relationships with family, friends, or significant others due to your injuries.

Proving Your Case

It can be difficult to quantify pain and suffering. As a result, it is imperative to collect evidence to prove your accident’s impact on your life. This will enable you to build a case and support your claim. Here are some methods that you can leverage to prove your claim.

Document your injury: Keep a personal journal and try to write in it daily. Be sure to document your pain level, emotional state, and how it impacts your life. This will be helpful in your healing process as well.

Keep excellent medical records: When you visit the doctor and fill prescriptions, you will want to keep all your invoices and receipts. Document your doctor’s instructions and note their impact on your life. This information will help support your case.

Photographs and videos: It is often said that a picture paints 1,000 words. Photo evidence helps illustrate the severity of your injury. Video can help give the jury a view into how the car accident affects you emotionally.

Social media posts: What you post on social media can also affect your case, so be careful what you post. For example, posting about your ski trip is not a good idea if you are suffering from a leg injury. Read our recent blog post on this topic.

Other Factors that can influence your Personal Injury Award

Insurance Coverage: The amount of insurance that the person responsible for your injury carries will affect your claim. Getting amounts that exceed their coverage often increases the difficulty of getting fair compensation.
Pre-existing injuries: Sometimes, you are hit, further exacerbating an existing injury, and in this case, proving how much the accident impacted that injury becomes harder.
Statute of Limitations: Whether you were hit by a car in Atlanta, GA, Alpharetta, GA or were in an automobile accident in Chicago, IL, you must file your claim within a certain period of time. Failure to do so will result in an inability to receive compensation.
Comparative Fault: This takes into consideration whether or not your actions contributed to the fault of an accident and, if so, by what percentage. Comparative law and your ability to seek compensation vary from state to state. For example, Georgia follows a modified comparative fault, meaning that you can’t recover damages if you are more than 50% at fault. Conversely, Illinois uses pure comparative vault. This means you can recover damages even if you were partially at fault. However, it can impact the amount of damages you can receive.

Legal Guidance

If you plan to get compensation for pain and suffering due to someone else’s negligence, there are a few reasons you should consider getting legal guidance. Here are some of the reasons:

Focus on getting better: Your health should be your number one priority after getting involved in an accident. Proper rest and exercise will enable you to return to the life you enjoyed before your accident more quickly. By working with a lawyer, you can take away the burden of working with the complexity associated with your claim.
Understanding the law: Laws surrounding personal injury claims are very complex. They require a knowledge of statutes and deadlines that you need to understand to be successful. Because lawyers have been trained and deal with this on a daily basis, they are typically better equipped to handle your claim.
Relationships with experts: As we have discussed, the damages related to pain and suffering are subjective and can be hard to quantify. Lawyers have relationships with experts who can evaluate your case and ultimately become expert witnesses. These experts’ views can enhance your probability of winning larger settlements.
Calculating your damages: Getting an accurate estimate of the damage you have suffered is not straightforward. Lawyers have developed methodologies to determine how much you can expect to receive after an accident.
Dealing with insurance companies: When handling a claim, an insurance company’s goal is to pay out the least amount possible. They are there to protect the interests of the responsible party, not you. Having a lawyer as your advocate means bringing someone with your best interest in mind to the negotiating table.

If you have been injured in a car accident in Atlanta, GA, Alpharetta, GA, or have been involved in a car crash in Chicago, IL, and are unsure how to calculate your damages, contact the personal injury attorneys at Hampton and Hampton.  We care about your injury and will get you the legal help you need.  Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

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