Collecting for Pain and Suffering After an Accident
When you are injured in a car accident caused by another party’s negligence, you will, most likely, have the right to collect compensation for your injuries. The amount of damages you may collect depends on a number of considerations. Some—such as medical expenses and lost wages—are relatively easy to calculate while others—such as pain and suffering—are much more complicated. If you hope to collect damages for your pain and suffering following an accident, it is important to understand what rights the law provides.
What the Law Says About Pain and Suffering
In a personal injury case, compensation for pain and suffering may also be called noneconomic damages or general damages. Under California law, the party who caused your accident may also be responsible for the physical and emotional discomfort you have suffered, as well as the negative impact—including inconvenience—of your injury on your life.
For example, the Bay Area boasts a number of popular mountain biking destinations. If you biked regularly prior to your accident, mountain biking may have been a significant part of your life. Your injuries could make it impossible for you to get back on your bike for several years, and your change in lifestyle could be considered a type of pain and suffering. Pain and suffering compensation may also be appropriate if you suffered from nightmares or post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) in the weeks or months following your accident. Sometimes, though, pain and suffering simply covers the physical sensations associated with healing from your injuries.
Calculating Pain and Suffering
Unlike economic damages—which can be calculated with a fair degree of accuracy—damages for pain and suffering are more subjective. It may seem appropriate to assume that higher levels of physical pain, discomfort, or lifestyle disruption should result in higher awards, but things are not always so easy. When making a case for pain and suffering compensation from an insurance company, your attorney must determine how much a jury would be likely to award if the matter went to trial. From the other end, the insurance company will make a similar analysis.
In some cases, an insurance company will determine how much your life was affected on a daily basis, and assign a daily dollar amount accordingly. The total award would then be based on the number of days your life was affected. More severe injuries, as you might expect, tend to result in greater compensation for pain and suffering.
If were injured in an auto accident, contact an experienced San Jose car accident lawyer. Call 408-286-2300 for a free, no-obligation consultation with Janoff Law today. We will provide the guidance you need in seeking the compensation you deserve.