Can you sue for pain and suffering after a car accident? In Texas, the answer is “yes.” When you are hurt in a crash due to another’s negligence, you can sue for compensation for the physical and emotional pain and trauma you’re feeling. This is in addition to asking for reimbursement for doctor bills, hospital expenses, drug costs, lost wages and other economic damages.
Pain and suffering isn’t always easy to prove, though. This is especially true when you have injuries that aren’t easily seen. While a broken arm or leg in a cast is an obvious injury, soft tissue or organ damage, for example, is not. It also isn’t easy to figure out how much pain and suffering damages are worth and how much to ask for in a suit.
When you’ve been hurt in an accident caused by a negligent driver, it’s smart to get the help of a car accident attorney who can collect the evidence needed to prove that you are entitled to pain and suffering damages. After reviewing your case, an experienced attorney will advise you about what your damages may be worth. They can then file your claim with the insurance company. And if the company doesn’t offer you an adequate settlement, fight for your right to get fair compensation through the court.
EXAMPLES OF PAIN AND SUFFERING DAMAGES
Pain and suffering includes all the negative physical or emotional effects you’ve experienced because of the accident. They are the things that can’t be easily measured in dollar figures, but that have still had a major effect on your life and that you wouldn’t be faced with if a negligent party hadn’t caused your accident. Every case is different, and not all of the following will necessarily apply to your case, but some examples include:
- Physical pain
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Mental trauma
- Fear and humiliation
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Loss of enjoyment of life or of favorite activities
- Loss of reputation
- Loss of family relationships.
These mental, emotional and physical effects may be temporary or could last a lifetime. In any case, when you’ve been hurt in a negligent accident, you deserve to be compensated for all your losses.
HOW TO PROVE PAIN AND SUFFERING FROM A CAR ACCIDENT
To improve your chances of getting pain and suffering damages, you’ll need evidence that backs up your claim about how much pain you’re feeling and how badly your injuries have affected you emotionally. Factors that the court or insurer may review in considering pain and suffering damages include:
- Medical records from your doctor, hospital and other providers
- Medical prognosis from your doctor
- Doctor, hospital and other medical expenses related to your injuries
- Prescription and over-the-counter drug bills
- Records from your psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health provider
- Photos of your injuries
- Records from your employer showing time missed at work.
It’s also very helpful to keep a regular written or video log of the day-to-day effect your injuries have had on your life. In this log, you can talk about such things as the specific physical and emotional pain you experience each day and how this pain has limited your activities and relationships.
Additionally, your attorney may bring in expert witnesses to testify on your behalf. An expert witness might be a brain injury doctor who talks about the physical pain and psychological effects of head and brain injuries, as just one example.
HOW MUCH DO YOU GET FOR PAIN AND SUFFERING DAMAGES?
Unlike economic damages such as doctor costs and wages lost from work that are pretty easy to add up, pain and suffering damages aren’t as clear. How much do you get for pain and suffering damages? There is no standard formula for coming up with pain and suffering damage amounts. Sometimes a multiplier is used that multiplies medical costs and other economic damages times a number that is based on how severe the injuries are. Insurance companies often use a multiplier method that assigns a number from 1 to 5 for injuries; the worse the injuries, the higher the multiplier used.
But everybody experiences physical trauma and its emotional effects differently. The same type of injury may be more painful and mentally stressful for one person than it is for another. So to come up with an amount to ask for in a legal claim, every unique part of the accident and how it has affected your life must be considered. This is why it’s so important to work with an attorney who is experienced in handling car accident claims. Without an attorney who understands all the intricacies of calculating pain and suffering damages, you may not get the full amount you deserve for all you’ve suffered.
Factors that Go Into Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages
In general, though, here are typical things that go into calculating what pain and suffering damages may be worth, and what the court will typically look at in deciding whether to award these damages and how much to award:
- How badly you were injured
- Your expected prognosis and recovery time
- Whether your injuries caused you to be permanently disabled
- Whether you might have ongoing physical and mental issues
- How changed you are behaviorally compared to before the accident
- Whether your injuries will affect your ability to work in the future
- Whether you have scarring, burns or other disfigurements and their locations
- The amount claimed for medical bills and other economic damages.
CONTACT A WEST TEXAS CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER FOR HELP
When you’ve been hurt because another driver or other party was negligent, you deserve to get compensation that will make your life easier in the weeks, months and years to come. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a skilled car accident attorney for help. Our attorneys at Hanna Law Firm in West Texas know how to take on insurance companies and their lawyers inside and outside of the courtroom. We’ll fight to get you fair compensation for your pain and suffering and other damages. Call us today at 432-220-2649 to schedule a free consultation.