Physical injuries that an accident victim suffers often come with ongoing pain, suffering, and inconvenience. Accident victims with serious injuries can pursue monetary damages for both their past and anticipated pain and suffering.
Whether a particular pain and suffering settlement is fair under the circumstances depends upon numerous factors, including the accident circumstances, any liability issues, any contributory negligence, the law on pain and suffering damages, the specific injuries that the accident victim suffered in their accident, the accident victim’s medical treatment following their accident, and whether the accident victim sustained a permanent injury.
If you suffered injuries because of another person’s negligent or reckless act, you need a skilled personal injury lawyer to advocate for you, answer your questions, and explain your legal rights and options. Your lawyer can determine if you can recover pain and suffering damages, along with other monetary compensation, via a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
If you are eligible to pursue a personal injury claim, your lawyer can help you recover the pain and suffering damages you need to become whole again.
Types of Accidents that Cause Physical Injuries
Physical injuries can happen in any accident that results from someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or carelessness.
Some of the most common accidents that lead to physical injuries, along with a claim for physical pain and suffering, include:
- Car accidents—predominantly where a driver operates their vehicle while distracted or intoxicated.
- Accidents involving large trucks, such as 18-wheelers, big rigs, large box trucks, and tractor-trailers—especially where drivers are tired or drive in an overly aggressive manner
- Motorcycle crashes and bicycle accidents, where the collision force causes the cyclist to fall off their bike and onto the ground
- Pedestrian accidents, where a driver who fails to observe the road negligently hits a pedestrian while they are in a crosswalk or near the side of the road
- Bicycle collisions, which usually involve a driver striking a bicyclist with their car while the cyclist has very little protection
- Premises accidents, including slip and fall accidents, where a property owner or business fails to keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition for the benefit of their visitors and customers
If you or a person you care about sustained injuries in one of these accidents, a personal injury lawyer in your area can determine your eligibility for recovering pain and suffering damages, along with other related damages.
Generally speaking, the more serious your accident and injuries, the higher the likelihood that you will file a claim for pain and suffering compensation. If you are eligible to make a claim, your lawyer can highlight the pain and suffering that you previously endured—and will likely endure in the future—during settlement negotiations and in court.
Injuries that May Lead to a Pain and Suffering Claim
Almost every injury an accident victim can suffer may produce some type of symptoms, pain, or reaction. When accident victims suffer a permanent injury or an injury that is unlikely to get better over time, they are more likely to receive pain and suffering compensation than victims who suffer less-serious injuries in their accidents.
Common injuries that may lead to a successful pain and suffering claim include traumatic head and brain injuries, soft tissue contusions, fractures and broken bones, internal organ injuries, deep lacerations that produce a scar, disfiguring injuries, spinal cord injuries, and complete and partial paralysis injuries.
Your lawyer can help you determine if the nature and extent of your injuries qualify you to make a pain and suffering claim. If you are eligible, your lawyer can raise the appropriate claims on your behalf when dealing with the insurance company adjuster—or filing a lawsuit in court for you.
How to Manage Pain and Suffering after a Serious Accident
Accident victims who sustain serious injuries often undergo medical treatment to manage their physical pain and suffering. If an accident victim suffers a broken bone or severe head injury, for example, they may need to undergo an invasive medical procedure, such as surgery, to repair the condition. In addition, following surgery, an accident victim may need to undergo a lengthy physical or occupational therapy treatment regimen. This regimen may continue for many weeks, months or even years after the accident victim sustained their initial injury.
Accident victims in significant amounts of pain may also need to take pain medication, which can become habit-forming over time. They might also need to visit a pain management clinic on an ongoing basis or receive risky injections that sometimes lead to other complications.
A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer in your area can help you recover the monetary compensation you need for the pain, suffering, and inconvenience you endured after suffering injuries in your accident.
Past and Future Pain and Suffering Damages
Accident victims who are eligible for pain-and-suffering compensation can recover damages for both past and anticipated pain and suffering. The period for recovering past pain and suffering begins on the accident date and ends at the present.
To recover compensation for future pain and suffering, an accident victim must typically sustain a permanent or lifelong injury in the accident. However, to recover anticipated pain and suffering damages, the medical evidence must support that the injury at issue is unlikely to improve as time passes by.
Future pain and suffering damages compensate accident victims for the additional symptoms they will likely experience. In some instances, the accident victim’s permanent injuries are so severe that they may experience pain every day for the rest of their life.
Past and future pain and suffering compensation is not limited to just physical pain and suffering. In fact, many accident victims suffer the inconvenience of ongoing mental distress and emotional anguish connected with their physical injuries. This emotional pain and suffering may also be compensable, depending upon the severity of the injuries involved and other factors.
To recover monetary damages for emotional distress and mental anguish, the accident victim must ordinarily have sought mental health treatment at some point after the accident. For example, they may have consulted with a counsellor, psychiatrist, or psychologist who diagnosed them with a mental health condition that stemmed from their accident.
In addition to recovering pain and suffering damages in a personal injury claim or lawsuit, accident victims may also receive monetary damages to compensate them for the time they had to miss from work following their accident. Missed work time usually results from an accident victim being in too much physical pain to perform their job duties effectively. At other times, an accident victim can receive lost wage damages if they had to miss work to attend medical and physical therapy appointments in the days and weeks following their accident.
Moreover, seriously injured accident victims can pursue compensation for loss of the ability to use a specific body part, such as when they suffer a full or partial paralysis injury. Finally, they can recover damages for loss of life enjoyment if their injuries prevent them from partaking in the social and recreational activities they once enjoyed.
A skilled personal injury lawyer in your area can determine if you are eligible to recover past or future pain and suffering compensation. If you are, your lawyer can make this item of damage a part of your claim or lawsuit and ask the settlement adjuster to consider these damages when making a settlement offer.
Similarly, if your case goes to a mediation, civil trial or binding arbitration proceeding, your lawyer can ask the judge, jury, mediator or arbitrator to specifically compensate you for the pain and suffering you endured following your accident.
Filing a Claim or Lawsuit for Pain and Suffering
To receive pain and suffering compensation in your personal injury claim or lawsuit, you must satisfy every element of the claim.
In most instances, this means that you must show:
- That the at-fault person or entity owed you some duty of care that they later breached—or violated—in some manner
- That the at-fault party’s negligent or reckless conduct brought about the accident in which you suffered physical injuries
- That you suffered at least one physical injury in your accident and that the accident was at least one cause of your injury or injuries.
To receive pain and suffering damages, you must have experienced some degree of pain and other symptoms due to the injury or injuries you suffered.
During a discovery deposition, mediation, trial, or binding arbitration hearing, you can testify about the pain and suffering you endured and describe the severity of your pain at various times after the accident.
For example, your pain might have been worse in the days or weeks following the accident than it is now. You can also have a medical provider testify that your pain and other symptoms are typical, given the severe injuries you suffered in your accident.
Your personal injury lawyer can help you satisfy the legal elements of your claim and prepare you to testify at a deposition, mediation, trial, or binding arbitration hearing. With some good coaching from your lawyer, you can make an effective presentation and convince the mediator or judge to award you the compensation you deserve for your physical pain and suffering.
How Long do I Have to Make a Pain and Suffering Claim?
A person makes a claim for pain and suffering as part of their overall personal injury claim or lawsuit. In a personal injury case, accident victims may only file a lawsuit within two years after their accident date. Missing this deadline—even by as little as one day—can have grave consequences for both you and your personal injury claim.
Outside rare circumstances, if an accident victim does not file their personal injury claim within two years, the court will prevent them from recovering any monetary damages, including compensation for the past and future pain and suffering they endured. Therefore, it is in an accident victim’s best interests to retain an experienced lawyer to represent them and file a claim or lawsuit in their case as quickly as possible.
A skilled lawyer will know whether the statute of limitations is about to expire in your case, and if the deadline is approaching, your lawyer can file a lawsuit immediately. Your lawyer can also be an invaluable help during litigation and will zealously advocate for your legal interests at every stage of the legal proceedings.
Call a Personal Injury Lawyer in Your Area to Learn More about Pain and Suffering Compensation
Calling a personal injury lawyer to represent you in your claim or lawsuit is one of the most important steps you can take in your case. Pursuing monetary compensation, including compensation for pain and suffering, is often a daunting task. Insurance companies and their adjusters make the process unnecessarily difficult and typically lowball their settlement offers in a flimsy attempt to resolve the case quickly.
Your lawyer will usually need to negotiate with the settlement adjuster numerous times—or even threaten them with litigation—before they will increase their offer to an appropriate number. You need a skilled negotiator on your side to wrap up your case as efficiently as possible.
Your lawyer can effectively combat the insurance company’s tactics by highlighting your case’s strengths and pointing to the necessary medical records and other evidence available in your case.
If your lawyer cannot convince the insurance company to take your case seriously, litigation may ensue, and your lawyer can ultimately take your case to a mediation, trial or binding arbitration hearing. At one of these proceedings, your lawyer can introduce documentary evidence—and you can testify live—in support of your accident-related injuries, pain, and suffering.
No matter what happens, you can rest assured that your personal injury lawyer will constantly advocate for your legal interests and work to maximize your monetary compensation for everything you endured after your accident. Your lawyer can do all this for you while you focus on the most important thing—recovering from your injuries.