Pain and suffering refers to the physical and mental damages you experience after a car accident or other personal injury accident. You can sue for pain and suffering if there is also a physical injury present. And there are several features of pain and suffering damages that set them apart from other common damages claimed after a car accident.
Here’s what you need to know if you were the victim of a car accident and want to sue the at-fault party for pain and suffering damages.
How Pain and Suffering Differs from Other Damages
Georgia statutes don’t contain a specific definition for pain and suffering damages, but it’s basically the pain and discomfort a victim experiences after a car accident. This includes both physical pain as well as mental anguish that comes as a byproduct of physical injuries.
Mental pain and suffering damages come down to any negative emotion the victim suffers as a result of the car accident or physical pain from the accident. Examples of mental pain and suffering can include:
- Loss of enjoyment of life or things you used to do
- Fear, anger, or humiliation
- Anxiety or depression
- Mental disorders
- Mood swings
While other car accident damages are more straightforward and easy to calculate, such as medical bills and prescription costs, missed work wages, and vehicle repairs, pain and suffering damages are not so easily quantified.
With personal injury law, the only way you’re compensated for what you lost during a car accident is through money. But when it comes to pain and suffering damages like mental anguish and loss of life enjoyment, money is not a sufficient replacement. Not only that, the true cost of what’s lost for pain and suffering is hard to put into dollar amounts.
However, since the law has no other way of “making up for” those losses, a judge or jury will attempt to calculate an amount you’re owed for your pain and suffering from the car accident.
Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages
There is no set standard for how to decide on pain and suffering damages. So, if you want to sue the at-fault party for pain and suffering, it takes a lot of extra work in coming up with a monetary amount that can sufficiently “price” your suffering. As odd as that sounds, it’s the only way personal injury law knows how to handle these delicate damages.
A number of factors may be considered when valuing pain and suffering, including:
- How long your physical pain has lasted (and is expected to last in the future)
- How it will affect you physically, such as whether you’ll deal with any disfigurements or permanent issues
- The amount of treatment you’ll need for your physical or mental pain
- The way you explain your own pain and suffering
- What others have observed in how you behave now versus before the car accident
When insurance companies are calculating pain and suffering, they’ll look at how severe your physical injuries are. Typically, the more severe or permanent your injuries are, the more money you’ll be entitled to. In many cases, they’ll try to produce a number by multiplying your medical bill totals by a number from one to five, with five being the most severe.
Each of these factors may be considered in coming up with an amount that seems to fit the circumstances. In addition, judges and juries may draw on their own backgrounds, experiences, and common sense when awarding pain and suffering damages.
Suing for Pain and Suffering From a Car Accident
When suing for pain and suffering damages after a car accident, you need an experienced car accident lawyer on your side. Since these types of damages are so much more complex than others, you’ll need a legal professional to help you calculate your pain and suffering damages before sending them to the other driver’s insurance company.
Then, you and your lawyer will need to be able to justify and explain the calculations and also present the right information to the jury so they can see the value of your pain and suffering. This is very hard to do accurately without a good lawyer.
Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer for Free
If you’ve been injured in a car accident and are suing for pain and suffering damages, don’t try to navigate this tricky area of personal injury law alone. John Foy & Associates can help. Working exclusively on personal injury cases, we’re always on your side—and we don’t back down to insurance companies who try to pay out less than you deserve. Let us help you with your pain and suffering lawsuit. For a FREE consultation to talk with one of our lawyers about your case, contact us today. Call 404-400-4000, or complete the form to the right to get started with your free consultation.