If you’ve been in an auto accident, you may have heard about “pain and suffering” settlements. But how does the law define something as ambiguous as “pain and suffering?” And what kind of settlement can you reasonably hope for? Here’s what you need to know about what auto insurance pays, and what you can expect after your car accident.
How the law Defines Pain and Suffering
First things first – what is the legal definition of “pain and suffering?” As a general rule, most personal injury attorneys accept that there are several ways an individual can experience pain after an auto accident. Each kind of pain and suffering could qualify them to receive compensation through a personal injury claim. Some general forms include the following:
- Physical pain and suffering. This is the easiest form of pain and suffering to define, and the easiest to reach a settlement for. If a person were injured in a car accident, their physical pain would include any pain and suffering that was the direct result of the accident. Examples include the pain from a broken bone or the detrimental effects the victim will suffer later due to the other party’s negligence.
- Mental anguish. Mental anguish is somewhat more challenging to describe. It comes from the mental pain and suffering a person experiences after an accident. This damage includes emotional distress, anxiety, depression, and more. The kinds and severity of mental anguish vary from person to person after an accident.
- Loss of enjoyment. Similar to mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life is a type of pain and suffering. It applies to people who suffer from post-accident medical conditions that affect the other aspects of their life. Injuries that cause sexual dysfunction are an example, as are injuries that cause someone to give up a hobby.
In some cases, pain and suffering may be limited to one “type.” In other cases, a person may experience all three kinds of pain and suffering in varying levels. No two cases are alike. Because of this, it’s essential to seek out professional guidance to walk you through your claim in the aftermath of your accident, as well as detail all that’s included in an auto insurance settlement.
How Juries Calculate Pain and Suffering
Since there is no “one size fits all” rule for pain and suffering, there’s no way to accurately predict how a jury will calculate the value of your claim. The nature of pain and suffering is subjective. Juries tend to be inconsistent in determining how much a victim should get in this type of claim.
If you want to ensure you’re getting the settlement you deserve after your accident, you need to secure skilled legal representation. With this in mind, contact the team here at Ward & Barnes. Our team of experienced personal injury attorneys will work with you to estimate your damages and help you earn the fair compensation you deserve.