If you suffered injuries in an accident because of someone else’s negligence, you might be eligible to recover monetary damages for your past and future pain and suffering. However, recovering these damages is often an uphill battle, especially if you are dealing with a difficult insurance company or settlement adjuster.
A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can help you recover the pain and suffering damages you need to become whole again. Your lawyer can file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurer on your behalf and pursue the pain and suffering compensation and other monetary damages you need.
Suppose the insurance company refuses to offer you the appropriate compensation. In that case, your lawyer can file a lawsuit against the at-fault party in court and, if necessary, litigate your personal injury case at a trial or binding arbitration hearing.
Accidents That Can Lead to Personal Injuries
When others act negligently, they may cause an accident or occurrence that leads to numerous personal injuries. Individuals or entities are negligent when they deviate from the prevailing standard of care. This typically means that they act unreasonably under the circumstances.
A negligent party may do something that a hypothetical reasonable person should not have done in the same situation or, in the alternative, might fail to do something that a hypothetical reasonable person should have done in the same situation.
Negligent individuals and entities can bring about certain accidents and occurrences, including motor vehicle accidents, pedestrian crashes, bicycle accidents, motorcycle accidents, defective product malfunctions, premises accidents, medical negligence, and workplace accidents, especially in the building and construction industries.
If you have suffered injuries and experienced pain and suffering from one of these types of accidents, you should reach out to an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer can review the facts and circumstances of your accident with you and determine if you are eligible to file a pain and suffering claim. If so, your lawyer can assist you with every step of the claims filing process and, if necessary, litigate your case to a conclusion in the court system.
Typical Injuries That Accident Victims Sustain
Accident victims can suffer severe injuries in car accidents, slip and falls, and other occurrences. The injuries an accident victim suffers usually depend upon the force of any collision, the type of accident that occurs, and the body part or parts affected. Accident victims’ most common injuries include traumatic head and brain damage, internal organ injuries, cuts and abrasions, bruises, soft tissue contusions, bone fractures, paralysis, and spinal cord injuries.
As soon as possible after an accident, you should follow up at a local emergency room or urgent care center for medical treatment. Failing to seek immediate medical treatment after your accident can worsen your injuries.
Moreover, some injuries do not become symptomatic until days or weeks after the accident. This is especially true with traumatic brain injuries and soft tissue injuries. Therefore, you should seek emergency medical treatment early on so that the doctor can diagnose you accurately.
A medical doctor can also order the necessary X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs to render an accurate medical diagnosis. Finally, your medical provider can refer you for future medical care if your situation warrants it. For example, you may need to follow up with your family doctor or a specialist, such as a neurologist or orthopedic doctor, for ongoing treatment.
A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can start advocating for you while you complete your medical treatment. Your lawyer can obtain lost wage documents and earning statements from your employer, gather your medical treatment records to date, and obtain photographs of your injuries.
Your lawyer can also speak with witnesses to the occurrence and obtain copies of any police reports or investigation reports that others prepared. Once your medical treatment is complete, your lawyer can submit these documents to the insurance company, helping you prove your entitlement to pain and suffering compensation.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim After an Accident
The first step to recovering monetary compensation for your pain and suffering is for your personal injury lawyer to file an insurance claim on your behalf. In most instances, your lawyer can file this claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
The claims filing process begins when your lawyer submits a settlement demand package, including copies of your medical records, lost wage statements, and other potential evidence to use in your case. The settlement adjuster handling your claim can then review these documents and determine whether to accept fault for the accident. If the insurance company accepts fault, the settlement negotiation process can begin.
Insurance companies and their adjusters are sometimes difficult during settlement negotiations, especially when it comes to pain and suffering damages. This is because insurance companies want to save as much money as possible. Therefore, they may question your pain and suffering claim or offer you little money to compensate you for these damages.
A lawyer can be beneficial when negotiating a settlement offer in your case. Your lawyer can highlight the relevant medical treatment records that point out your pain and suffering and other strengths of your case. If the insurance company refuses to take your case seriously and will not compensate you fairly for your pain and suffering damages, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in the court system and litigate your case to a conclusion.
Your lawyer can also help you decide whether you should accept a settlement offer or file a lawsuit and litigate your claim in court.
Litigating a Personal Injury Claim
Litigation is often necessary in personal injury cases where the insurance company disputes fault or liability for the accident. The accident victim may also wish to litigate their claim if the insurance company does not offer them their damages, including favorable compensation for their pain and suffering.
The litigation process begins when a lawyer files a lawsuit in court on the accident victim’s behalf. During litigation, the parties will engage in discovery, during which time they will answer written questions called interrogatories.
The parties may also take one another’s discovery depositions to learn more about the respective versions of the case. During a deposition, an accident victim may testify about the pain and suffering they endured since the accident and the overall effect the accident has had on their life and well-being.
Even after filing a lawsuit, the parties may decide to settle their personal injury claim. However, if the case does not settle by the end of discovery, the parties can take their case to a civil jury trial. At trial, a jury will resolve all the disputed issues in the case and decide the total damages to award the accident victim.
The parties may consider binding arbitration or mediation as an alternative to a jury trial. At a binding arbitration hearing, the parties pre-select a neutral arbitrator who will hear evidence of the case and decide the issue of damages. Alternatively, in mediation, parties will meet with an unbiased, third-party mediator who will help facilitate the settlement discussions and hopefully bring the parties closer to a resolution.
A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can help you decide whether you should accept a settlement offer, take your case to trial, or pursue alternative dispute resolution in your case.
The Burden of Proof in a Personal Injury Claim or Lawsuit
The burden of proof in a personal injury case rests solely with the accident victim. This includes the burden of proof as to pain and suffering damages.
To recover damages in a personal injury case, the accident victim must show that the accident happened due to someone else’s negligence. They must also demonstrate that they suffered at least one physical injury in their accident and that their injury directly resulted from the accident.
To prove this causal connection, the accident victim may need to retain a medical expert who can testify at a deposition or jury trial. To a reasonable degree of medical certainty, a medical expert can state that the accident proximately caused the injury or injuries.
The medical expert can also establish that a particular injury is permanent. A permanent injury is unlikely to improve over time. Finally, a medical expert can confirm that an accident victim may experience pain and other symptoms for the rest of their life.
A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can help you satisfy your legal burden of proof in a personal injury claim or lawsuit. Your lawyer can also help you retain the necessary experts to maximize the pain and suffering damage as you recover.
Past and Future Pain and Suffering Damages
Accident victims who can prove the legal elements of their personal injury claim can recover various types of monetary compensation, including pain and suffering damages.
First, accident victims who had to miss time from work to attend medical appointments can recover lost wage compensation. Furthermore, if an accident victim had to switch jobs and take a pay cut due to their injuries, they might be eligible to bring a claim for loss of earning capacity.
Next, accident victims may be eligible to recover monetary compensation for their past and future pain and suffering. The pain and suffering damages that an accident victim recovers will usually depend upon the severity of their injuries, the amount of pain they endured after the accident, and whether or not they suffered a permanent impairment in their accident.
Past pain and suffering damages compensate accident victims for everything they experienced between the date of their accident and the current date. On the other hand, future pain and suffering damages compensate the accident victim for anticipated symptoms they will likely experience going into the future.
A medical provider can offer an opinion about the likelihood of the accident victim’s future symptoms and how long those symptoms will likely continue. In some instances, depending upon the seriousness of the injuries, the accident victim may suffer lifelong pain and suffering.
In addition to past and future pain and suffering damages, an accident victim can recover monetary compensation for the emotional distress, mental anguish, inconvenience, lost quality of life, and loss of the ability to use a body part, such as when they suffer a full or partial paralysis injury. Finally, they may be eligible to recover monetary damages for loss of spousal companionship.
If you suffered injuries in an accident that resulted from another person’s or entity’s negligence, your lawyer can help you to maximize the pain and suffering compensation and other damages you are entitled to recover. Your lawyer will zealously advocate on your behalf during settlement negotiations and, if necessary, in court, helping you recover the total damages you need.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you suffered injuries in a recent accident that resulted from another person’s negligence, you should speak with a personal injury lawyer right away. Accident victims have two years from their accident date in which to file a personal injury lawsuit seeking damages. If you file your lawsuit beyond this two-year limitations deadline, you will be unable to recover any monetary damages for your injuries. You should never try to deal with the insurance company alone.
Insurance companies are typically large organizations that have vast resources. It will have teams of adjusters and lawyers who represent the interests of their employer, the insurance company. The goal of the insurance company is to make profits, and it does this by paying out at little as it can. Therefore, as soon as possible after your accident, you should contact a personal injury lawyer for representation.
In addition to investigating your accident circumstances, your lawyer can explain your legal options in clear terms, help you negotiate with settlement adjusters, and, if necessary, file a lawsuit in the court system. Your lawyer can also represent you at all legal proceedings and help you maximize the damages you recover, including monetary compensation for your suffering, pain, and inconvenience stemming from the accident.