The Challenges of Proving Pain & Suffering After a Car Accident

Most Americans are aware that it is possible to secure compensation for “pain and suffering” through a car accident claim or other personal injury lawsuit. However, many do not know how a court can assign a monetary value to something intangible such as physical pain or psychological distress. The reality is that calculating pain and suffering and proving eligibility to collect such damages hinges on many different factors that can vary from case to case. If you intend to seek legal action following a car accident, your attorney can advise you as to the best way to prove pain and suffering damages.

How Do I Prove Pain and Suffering?

The California court system upholds that an injured person has the right to receive compensation not only for their monetary losses from an accident but also for the trauma and pain the accident caused. Proving pain and suffering is more difficult in some cases than others. For some, it is as simple as providing documentation of the plaintiff’s injuries, prognosis, and treatment. A compound leg fracture that requires months of recovery and intensive physical therapy will likely lead to more significant pain and suffering compensation than a broken wrist, for example.

Evidence of your pain and suffering will be crucial in your legal action. Your physician can provide a medical report detailing the extent of your injuries and the likelihood of long-term complications resulting from them. For some injuries, it will be obvious to the court that the victim experienced significant pain and suffering. For others, the victim may have a more difficult time proving the extent of their experiences.

It is wise to keep a record of your experiences following a car accident. This should essentially consist of a file containing the police report of your accident, the initial medical report from your doctor, and any other documentation related to your claim. An experienced car accident attorney can also help you gather additional evidence and records that could be useful to your forthcoming legal proceedings.

Recording Your Experiences Following a Car Accident

It may be necessary to keep a detailed record of daily experiences to help you establish the full extent of your pain and suffering in a car accident claim. This record can include statements from friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers corroborating your claims. For example, if you needed to ask family to assist with household tasks due to the amount of pain you were in after an accident, their statements concerning this issue will be very supportive in proving pain and suffering. Be sure to consult with your doctor regularly after your accident for updated medical guidance and more records of your treatment following the accident.

Immediate and Future Damages in Pain and Suffering Calculation

It is essential for any personal injury plaintiff to understand their rights when it comes to seeking compensation for car accident damages. California state law allows an injured plaintiff to claim compensation for both immediate and future damages resulting from a defendant’s negligent actions. When it comes to pain and suffering, the severity of the plaintiff’s injuries and their likelihood of making a full recovery significantly influence the amount received in pain and suffering compensation

Most courts will use the plaintiff’s claimed economic damages as a starting point when calculating pain and suffering compensation. For example,  if a plaintiff incurred $20,000 in medical bills and requires $10,000 worth of ongoing treatments over a year for a car accident injury, they could probably expect to receive several times this amount in pain and suffering compensation. If the plaintiff will make a complete recovery, the amount they can secure will be significantly less. This is yet another reason why it is vital to seek medical attention immediately after a car accident. Doing so ensures the victim will have a clear record of their medical condition resulting from an accident.

Expert Witness Testimony

Everyone experiences injuries differently. Two people could suffer similar physical injuries to the same party of the body and yet have two vastly different recovery experiences. In some car accident claims, a plaintiff’s attorney will consult with a relevant expert witness who can clarify complex issues related to the claim. For example, it may be difficult to prove the exact extent of a plaintiff’s experiences without a professional interpretation from a verified expert. Expert witnesses may also testify in open court if the case requires it.

Seek Legal Counsel Now

Ultimately, one of the best things you can do to prove your pain and suffering after a car accident is to hire a reliable and experienced car accident attorney to represent your claim. An experienced attorney can help you gather the evidence you will need to prove pain and suffering and collect the compensation you deserve after a car accident. If you are ready to take legal action for a recent car accident, contact the Law Office of Black & DePaoli, PC to schedule a consultation about your case with our team.

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