If someone else’s negligence led to a serious personal injury, your claim against the individual could include pain and suffering.
When a defendant is the cause of your accident and resulting injuries, damages are generally awarded to help with rebuilding your life. While it is easier to calculate costs for things like medical expenses, property damage or lost wages, it is much harder to put a number on how much your pain is worth.
Determining general damages
Calculating damages for property destruction or medical care involves totaling the receipts associated with repair or treatments. With pain and suffering, the damages often include both physical suffering and mental strain from the accident. These become general damages, but there are no foolproof ways to arrive at a total cost. Much of the determination depends on the type of injuries sustained and the lasting impact it has on the individual. Serious trauma, like a brain injury or concussion, requires extensive treatment and takes a long time to heal.
On the other hand, soft tissue damage or a cut or bruise does not generally require intensive treatment. Non-obvious injuries like whiplash are also hard to determine how much pain and suffering occurred.
Because of the difficulties in proving pain and suffering, many car accident victims should seek legal advice before making an insurance settlement. Pain and suffering can encompass a wide timeframe, starting from the moment of the injury and potentially continuing into the future once treatment is over.
Those who do not make a complete recovery are often justified in asking for a higher amount of pain and suffering compensation. A jury, judge or adjuster must see the negative consequences on your life to provide fair compensation.