What Qualifies As Pain And Suffering In A Car Accident?
The aftereffects of a car collision include often include much more than just broken bones, bruises, and a crumpled fender. Many people suffer from ongoing emotional trauma after an accident, including PTSD. Someone who has been in a car accident in Arizona and is experiencing anxiety, nightmares, or other post-collision trauma may be eligible for compensation to cover their pain and suffering. Contact Chuck Franklin Law today to learn more about your legal right to compensation after a car accident. Talk with Chuck Franklin directly at 480-545-0700 for a free consultation regarding your specific situation.
Pain and Suffering and Your Car Accident Claim
A victim of a car accident can attempt to obtain two different kinds of damages, economic and non-economic. Monetary damages are fairly straightforward, and can include medical bills, including hospital stays and any surgery or physical therapy needed to recover, the cost of repairing or replacing the wrecked vehicle, and any lost wages or employee benefits due to missed work.
Non-economic damages, which include pain and suffering, diminished quality of life (for instance, permanent or semi-permanent disability or disfigurement), and emotional trauma or mental anguish, are harder to quantify. Ultimately, a decision will be made regarding the impact that the accident had on the plaintiff’s overall quality of life and whether or not they will be able to fully recover physically.
What Is Considered Pain and Suffering After a Car Accident?
Pain and suffering fall into two categories: physical pain and mental/emotional suffering. Physical pain is the pain of the body’s injuries, including both the immediate pain and any ongoing pain thereafter. Many people experience persistent back pain after a car accident and require long term physical therapy, continued medical treatments, ongoing surgeries, or regular treatment from a chiropractor. Chronic pain can affect a person’s quality life indefinitely.
Mental or emotional suffering may either stem from the effects of physical pain or emotional trauma stemming from the accident. Many people develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after a car accident, which can manifest itself in many ways, such as:
- Nightmares disrupted sleep or trouble falling asleep
- Exacerbated anxiety, or anxiety triggered by reminders of the accident
- Irritability, aggression, or acting out
- Self-medicating with alcohol or drugs
- Avoidance, including not driving or riding in a car
- Trouble concentrating on work or school
PTSD after an accident, and other associated emotional trauma, can have a debilitating effect on a person’s life. They may be unable to work effectively, hampering their career prospects. Unfortunately, their relationships with family and friends may also suffer due to their PTSD symptoms.
When pursuing a car accident claim, mental pain and suffering are considered to be any kind of negative emotion the accident victim suffers as a result of the accident, and the negative impact those emotions have on their quality of life. It is also an estimate of how much the mental anguish will affect them in the future. Damages for mental pain can include covering the cost of therapy and counseling to treat PTSD and trauma.
How Much Are Emotional Trauma Damages?
Unfortunately for many car accident victims, there are not many guidelines when it comes to calculating pain and suffering. Unlike economic damages, it is not always possible to simply add up the total bills and award that amount.
In some cases, a “multiplier” is used to estimate non-economic damages, based on the total dollar amount of the victim’s economic damages (usually medical bills + lost earnings + property damage). This multiplier can be between 1.5 and 4, and is more useful in smaller cases. However, it is important to understand that the utilization of a multiplier is only a rough estimate, as it is hard to put a dollar amount on a diminished quality of life or on how a person will feel if the effects of their injuries are ongoing. If you are experiencing pain and suffering after a car accident, consider visiting with Chuck Franklin Law to learn how much compensation you may have a legal right to receive.
How Can a Car Accident Attorney Prove Pain and Suffering?
It is important for a victim of a car accident to keep detailed records and a journal of their experience following the accident. Keeping a record of events, feelings, and experiences can help a victim show the effect of a car accident on their lives. For example, if a person lost the use of an arm or leg and is unable to keep the job they had before the accident, they may feel a loss of self-worth and emotional anguish of not being able to pursue their career. Additionally, the same individual may have had a hobby that required both hands or was an active athlete. Being unable to pursue their favorite pastimes can impact the amount of pain and suffering damages. In other cases, a victim may simply not be able to hold their grandchildren anymore due to injuries, or remain unable to do simply daily tasks. All of this becomes important when attempting to quantify pain and suffering.
Additionally, a doctor’s records or testimony about the impact of chronic physical pain from car accident injuries can help lend credence to a victim’s claim for pain and suffering damages. If the individual has regular migraines or constant back pain after the accident, for example, they have a diminished quality of life and may be entitled to damages.
Wrongful death cases, where a plaintiff lost a loved one in an accident, may also qualify for pain and suffering damages. In these cases, the pain and suffering are assumed to be lifelong. The victim in this case may have lost a spouse, parent, or child and therefore suffers from a permanent loss of companionship or loss of consortium, which can be care, parental guidance, or love and affection.
Contact Chuck Franklin Directly Today
If you have been involved in a car accident in Arizona and have subsequently experienced PTSD, physical or mental pain, or emotional anguish, contact the compassionate and experienced car accident attorney, Chuck Franklin of Chuck Franklin Law. You will always visit with Chuck Franklin directly, and he can help you understand if you have a legal basis to file a claim for damages after your car accident, including pain and suffering, to help you receive justice for your diminished quality of life. Call Chuck Franklin directly at 480-545-0700 today to discuss your case.
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