August 12, 2014
When Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering Damages?
Pain and suffering damages are non-economic damages available to victims of motor vehicle accidents. Under California laws, you can sue for pain and suffering damages any time someone is responsible for causing you physical injury.
Estimating the value of pain and suffering damages is difficult because it can be hard to determine exactly what your physical discomfort is worth. Victims who wish to pursue a claim for compensation should contact Injury Trial Lawyers for help. Our experienced San Diego car accident lawyers have decades of collective experience representing injured car accident victims and we can help you to make the strongest possible case for pain and suffering damages and compensation for other car accident losses.
Suing for Pain and Suffering Damages
In order to sue for pain and suffering damages, you must be able to show:
- Someone else was responsible for injuring you because of negligence or a breach of legal duty. If a driver was negligent or careless and caused a motor vehicle crash, you can take legal action against that driver. You can also pursue a claim against makers of defective vehicles that cause you to get hurt.
- You suffered actual physical damages as a result of the defendant’s negligence. You cannot obtain compensation for pain and suffering if you experienced only emotional injuries. The motor vehicle collision must have caused you actual injuries.
There are different ways to calculate what a claim for pain and suffering damages is worth. A jury will consider the extent of your injuries and the length of time you were hurt when they determine the amount of money the defendant has to pay. Your pain and suffering damages will be calculated along with compensation for other losses such as medical bills, lost income and emotional distress.
It is up to you to prove both that you are entitled to compensation and to show the extent of your pain. Different types of evidence including witness testimony, expert testimony from medical professionals, pictures of your injuries and a journal documenting your pain can all be useful when you pursue a claim for compensation in court.
Recovering Pain and Suffering Compensation
While you can sue for pain and suffering damages after any car accident in California caused by another person or company, you do not necessarily have to file a lawsuit in order to be compensated for your pain.
Many victims of motor vehicle accidents will settle their damage claim outside of court. The insurance company representing the other driver may offer you a set amount of money in order to give up your right to sue. You need to ensure that this settlement provides sufficient compensation both for your actual economic loss as well as for your pain.
Insurers have different ways to calculate what amount of money to give you for pain and suffering. Some will multiple actual financial loss (medical costs and lost wages) by a set number called a pain multiplier. Others will pay you a set amount (usually your average daily salary) for each day that you were in pain.
Before accepting a settlement or pursuing a court claim for pain and suffering damages, you should have a lawyer representing you and advising you of your legal rights. Injury Trial Lawyers is here to help and our San Diego car accident lawyers offer free consultations to crash victims. Call us today or contact us online to learn more.
Injury Trial Lawyers, APC
1230 Columbia Street #560
San Diego, CA 92101