Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering After a Car Accident?
Can you sue for pain and suffering after a car accident? In Pennsylvania, the general answer to that question is “yes.” Pain and suffering are allowed as damages in car accident claims. But pain and suffering can be very hard to prove because they aren’t always obvious to the naked eye. Proving pain and suffering often takes the help of a skilled car accident attorney.
Pain and suffering damages compensate injured people for the physical and emotional pain they have experienced due to their crash. This might include ongoing pain from broken bones, pinched nerves or other physical harm. It might include depression, loss of enjoyment of life and other emotional issues caused by the accident.
Every day on Pennsylvania’s roadways, more than 200 people are injured in car crashes, according to PennDOT. The lives of many of these people will never be the same again because of their pain and suffering. It is fair to ask for damages if a negligent party has injured you in a car crash and you are in physical or emotional distress.
While getting compensated for your pain and suffering won’t make it go away, it can help you handle day-to-day financial problems caused by your accident.
How Much Do You Get for Pain and Suffering?
How much do you get for pain and suffering? There is no easy answer to that question. There is no exact formula that the court uses to determine an amount. Every pain and suffering award is based on an individual’s unique circumstances. What you might get depends on several things:
- What type of injuries you have and how severe they are. When you have an obvious injury, such as a broken bone, most people understand that you would be in pain. But with a less visible injury, such as soft tissue damage, your pain may not be understood.
- Whether you have a disfiguring injury, such as scarring or burns to your face. In addition to physical pain from these injuries, you might also be embarrassed to be seen, causing anxiety and depression.
- How the injuries impact your daily life. If you have an injury that makes it impossible for you to perform your job, for example, this might affect how much you get in damages. Or if you can no longer perform favorite hobbies or activities, this may also be taken into account.
There is no simple answer to how much you might get. It is all about proving the pain and suffering and showing the extent of it and how much it has negatively impacted your life.
Read on to learn about proving pain and suffering from a car accident.
Proving Pain and Suffering from a Car Accident
Proving pain and suffering isn’t simple, but there are some basic things that will help your case. The most important is whether you saw a doctor after your accident. If you didn’t see a doctor, it will probably be assumed that you were not in pain.
Here is the type of evidence you can collect to help you prove pain and suffering damages:
- Medical records – This includes records, notes and X-rays from doctors, physical therapists and other medical providers. It also includes bills for these visits.
- Prescription records – Keep records of prescriptions you’ve been given to help with pain, anxiety or other problems. Over-the-counter pain medication receipts should also be included.
- Proof from your employer of time you’ve lost at work – If you can’t work due to pain, having documentation from your company that proves it can be valuable.
- Photographs of your injuries – If you have bruises and swelling, scarring, broken bones or other obvious injuries, taking photographs is a good idea.
- A pain journal – Keeping a daily written record of your pain levels is a smart idea. The journal should include how the pain affected your activities and how often you had to take medication to reduce it.
- Documentation from family and friends. This documentation might discuss how you were before the accident and how the pain or emotional anguish from the crash has affected your life.
Expert witnesses may also be brought in by your lawyer to help prove pain and suffering. An expert witness might be your own doctor who would discuss your injuries and pain. Or the witness could be another doctor who deals with the kind of injury you’ve suffered. It might be a psychologist or therapist who handles mental health issues. A pain management specialist might be used to help establish your degree of pain and how long it can be expected to last.
Get Help from Our Skilled Philadelphia Car Accident Attorneys
As you can see, there are many factors in proving pain and suffering. It can be very difficult for injured people to do this on their own. It is usually best to have the help of a skilled personal injury attorney. Lawyers who focus in this area of the law know what kind of evidence to present to make judges or juries recognize their clients are in physical or emotional distress.
When you’ve been in a serious injury crash, your first concern should be recovery. Of course, the doctor bills and other costs you are now facing because of the accident won’t go away on their own. Which is why the question of whether or not you can sue for pain and suffering after a car accident is such an important one. It is important to understand your rights after being injured because of another driver’s negligence. One of those rights is to receive compensation. If you had not been in a crash you would not be facing medical expenses or pain and emotional suffering. It is fair to expect to be compensated for these things.
A skilled car accident attorney from Wapner Newman in Philadelphia can review your case and work toward getting you the compensation you deserve. Call our Pennsylvania law office at (215) 569-0900 to schedule a free consultation.