How Much Can I Get for Pain and Suffering?
If you suffered injuries in an accident that resulted from someone else’s negligence, you may pursue and recover monetary damages, including compensation for your past and future pain and suffering.
Pain and suffering damages compensate accident victims for their ongoing physical symptoms and inconvenience, mental distress, and other accident-related damages.
Many injury victims focus on compensation for their financial losses, such as medical bills and lost income. They too easily overlook the financial recovery they deserve for intangible losses like pain and suffering. This often leaves significant money they deserve on the table.
If you suffered injuries in a recent accident that someone else caused, you need a skilled Orange County personal injury attorney on your side advocating for you every step of the way and pursuing the total monetary compensation you deserve. The right lawyer will not overlook or underestimate your pain and suffering damages.
Your personal injury lawyer can file a personal injury claim or, if necessary, a lawsuit against all potentially responsible parties or their insurance companies. Your lawyer can then negotiate a fair settlement offer, jury verdict, or binding arbitration award that compensates you for your pain, suffering, inconvenience, and other related damages.
If your attorney must pursue litigation in your personal injury case, they can represent you at all legal proceedings, introduce evidence, and aggressively advocate on your behalf.
Types of Personal Injury Cases that Frequently Arise from Others’ Negligence
Personal injury legal matters typically arise when other individuals are negligent under the circumstances. An individual or entity is negligent when they fail to act reasonably. For example, in a car crash, a negligent individual may exceed the posted speed limit, fail to yield the right-of-way to other vehicles or pedestrians at the appropriate times, or drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Similarly, a premises owner may fail to maintain their property in a safe condition.
Negligent parties can cause:
- Car accidents
- Accidents that involve commercial trucks, including tractor-trailers, big rigs, and other large vehicles
- Boating accidents
- Premises accidents, including slip and falls
- Construction site accidents
- Workplace accidents
If you or a person you care about sustained injuries in one of these types of accidents, a knowledgeable personal injury attorney can meet with you to discuss your accident circumstances and explore your legal options.
Your lawyer can also determine if you can file a personal injury claim or lawsuit seeking monetary recovery. If so, your lawyer can file the personal injury claim on your behalf, usually with the at-fault party’s insurance company, and work to secure the favorable monetary damages you deserve to recover in your case.
How to Successfully Prove a Personal Injury Claim or Lawsuit
An injured individual has the legal burden of proof in a personal injury claim or lawsuit based upon negligence. Therefore, they must ordinarily satisfy several legal elements to recover monetary compensation and damages.
First, the accident victim has to establish that the other party owed them some legal duty of care under the circumstances. For example, premises owners are responsible for maintaining their properties in a reasonably safe condition for the benefit of most property visitors. If they know of a dangerous hazard or defect on their property, they have a legal duty to quickly warn about or fully correct the risk within a reasonable amount of time.
Similarly, drivers and boat operators have a duty to drive in a manner that is safe and reasonable under the circumstances. Specifically, they must follow all applicable traffic laws, motor carrier regulations, and traffic laws while behind the wheel of their car or boat.
In addition to establishing that the other party owed them a legal duty of care, an injured accident victim must prove that the at-fault party violated their legal duty, such as by failing to exercise reasonable care or violating a law or regulation on the books.
Next, the accident victim must demonstrate that the accident occurred due to the other party’s duty-of-care violation, and they suffered injuries. Therefore, a causal relationship must exist between the accident victim’s claimed injuries and the accident.
Satisfying the legal elements of proof in a personal injury claim or lawsuit is often an uphill battle, and you cannot count on insurance companies to make the job easy for you. A personal injury attorney can help you satisfy your legal burden of proof by retaining several experts to testify in your case.
First, if the insurance company is disputing fault for your accident, your lawyer can retain a qualified accident reconstructionist to testify as an expert in your case. An accident reconstructionist can meet with you to discuss the circumstances surrounding the accident, talk to witnesses, review investigation reports (including police reports), review security camera footage, and visit the scene of the occurrence. They can then draft a favorable report in your case and, if necessary, testify at a discovery deposition or other litigation proceeding, such as a jury trial.
In addition, your lawyer can retain a medical expert who can causally relate your claimed injuries to the accident.
For example, a medical provider can state on the record, and to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that you suffered one or more physical injuries as a direct result of the accident. In addition, your medical provider can establish that one or more of your injuries will last for an indefinite amount of time.
These permanent injuries may cause an accident victim to experience pain and suffering for the rest of their life. The accident victim might also need additional medical procedures, such as surgeries or physical therapy, for their injuries.
A compassionate personal injury attorney in your case can help you satisfy your legal burden of proof and retain the necessary experts to draft reports and testify as witnesses on your behalf during a deposition or civil jury trial.
Types of Pain and Suffering Damages
When accident victims suffer injuries due to someone else’s negligence, they may experience intense pain, suffering, and inconvenience. The amount of pain and suffering an accident victim experiences will depend primarily on whether or not they suffered a permanent injury in their accident.
If the accident victim can satisfy the legal elements of their claim or lawsuit, they can recover both past and future pain and suffering damages. Those damages compensate accident victims for everything they experienced between the date of their accident and the present time.
However, if the accident victim suffered permanent injuries in their accident, they may be eligible for a future pain and suffering damage award. Those damages compensate accident victims for their anticipated symptoms moving forward.
In addition to receiving monetary damages for their physical pain and suffering, accident victims may also recover compensation for their:
- Emotional anguish and mental distress, for the mental symptoms they experienced due to the accident and their injuries (including post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD)
- Inconvenience stemming from their physical injuries
- Loss of spousal companionship and consortium when an accident victim’s injuries prevent them from being sexually intimate with a spouse
- Loss of life enjoyment, if the accident victim’s quality of life significantly declined due to the accident and their injuries
- Loss of the ability to use a body part, such as when an accident victim suffers a permanent spinal cord injury or total or partial paralysis injury that limits the use of one or more body parts
The amount of pain and suffering damages that accident victims recover will depend mainly upon the nature and extent of their injuries, the cost of their medical treatment, and the circumstances surrounding their accident. Therefore, total damage awards may vary significantly from case to case.
A personal injury attorney in your area will do everything they can to maximize your pain and suffering damage award and the other damages you recover in your personal injury claim or lawsuit.
Deadline to File a Personal Injury Claim
If you sustained injuries in an accident resulting from another person’s negligence, a personal injury attorney can help you file a timely claim or lawsuit within the applicable statute of limitations. Accident victims only have two years, starting on the date of their accident, to file a personal injury lawsuit that seeks monetary recovery for their injuries, pain, and suffering.
If an accident victim files their lawsuit after the statutory deadline runs, they can no longer recover any monetary damages for their losses, with few exceptions. Therefore, you must retain legal counsel to handle your case from start to finish.
A lawyer can file a lawsuit on your behalf in the court system right away if the statute of limitations expires in your case. An attorney can also aggressively negotiate with insurance company representatives on your behalf and litigate your case in court in a timely and efficient manner.
If your case must go through litigation, your lawyer can represent you at a discovery deposition, settlement conference, civil jury trial, or other litigation proceeding that takes place in your case, such as mediation or binding arbitration.
Call an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Near You Today
If you suffered injuries in an accident that occurred when someone else was negligent, you can file a personal injury claim or lawsuit for monetary damages, including compensation for both your past and future pain and suffering.
Even if your accident case seems straightforward and simple, always hire a lawyer when dealing with insurance companies. Insurance companies are usually large organizations with vast resources. Their teams of lawyers and adjusters are concerned with maintaining the company’s bottom line, not your personal recovery.
A top-rated Orange County personal injury law firm‘s attorney can determine your eligibility for filing a claim or lawsuit. If you move forward, your lawyer can gather the necessary documents and submit a claim with the appropriate insurance company. Your lawyer can then negotiate on your behalf and, if necessary, litigate your case through the state court system to a favorable resolution.
Every step of the way, your lawyer can address your legal concerns and answer your questions. They can also help you make good decisions in your case that will increase your likelihood of recovering a favorable monetary award, including compensation for your past/future pain and suffering.