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What is the Role of Pain and Suffering in a Car Accident Case?

August 25, 2023

Many people have heard of pursuing damages for pain and suffering in personal injury claims, but what does that really mean in legal proceedings? Pain and suffering is a category of damages that you can pursue as part of a legal claim to obtain fair compensation after an accident, including a car or truck collision. 

What Are Non-Economic Damages?

Compared to economic damages that cover losses like medical expenses or lost wages, non-economic damages are compensation for losses that don’t have an easily defined value. Some common non-economic damages in personal injury claims include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Emotional distress
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Scarring or disfigurement
  • Temporary or permanent disabilities

After a car accident, you can seek non-economic damages for your intangible losses in court. You might also be able to pursue further damages if the other driver was particularly reckless, wanton, or intentional in their actions that caused the accident.

If you don’t want to file a lawsuit against the other driver, you can file an injury claim with their insurance company. Often, insurance companies will not offer fair compensation and it can be important to have a lawyer involved to help in such situations. 

Do Insurance Companies Pay Non-Economic Damages in Personal Injury Claims?

States vary as far as the rules for insurance. However, in many cases, insurance companies look to minimize the value of claims as much as possible, including undervaluing and undermining such claims. 

If an insurance company offers to settle, don’t cash the check yet. Cashing or depositing an insurance claim check indicates that you accept the offer, which can lead to the insurance company closing your claim.

Instead, bring the check to your car accident attorney to help you determine if the offer is fair for the value of your case. Helping you calculate a fair value for your claim is one of many ways an experienced personal injury attorney can help you seek compensation for your injuries.

Why You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer to Pursue Damages in Court

If you file a lawsuit to pursue compensation beyond just economic damages, you, as the plaintiff, must prove negligence on behalf of the defendant “with a preponderance of the evidence.” This means that you and your attorney must prove the four elements of negligence with enough evidence that the court believes it is very likely to be true. The four elements of negligence include:

  1. Proving the defendant owed a duty of care.
  2. Demonstrating that the defendant breached their duty.
  3. Proving that the defendant’s actions or inaction led to the accident and your injuries.
  4. Demonstrating the losses you suffered as a result of the accident.

Your attorney can help you gather the appropriate evidence for your case, as well as get expert witness testimony from doctors or accident reconstruction specialists. Personal injury claims can have lengthy court procedures but many settle before going to trial.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

If you want to pursue damages for pain and suffering in a car accident case, call our knowledgeable personal injury attorneys at Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway, P.C. Call us at 432-335-0399 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.