If you were hurt in an accident someone else caused, you probably know that you can recover compensation for your medical expenses, property damage, and other financial losses. What you may not know is that you may also be able to obtain additional compensation for other adverse effects to your life your injury has caused.
People who were injured in accidents through no fault of their own can receive compensation for accident-related pain and suffering. However, unlike documented financial losses that are easy to calculate and confirm, pain and suffering is intangible, and assessing its value is more complex than adding up a list of medical expenses.
What Is “Pain and Suffering?”
“Pain and suffering” is a collective term that refers to the chronic and irreparable damages an injury victim suffers far after the date of the accident. It most commonly includes things such as:
- Ongoing pain and discomfort
- Depression, anxiety, and emotional distress
- Mental disorders, such as PTSD
- Sleep disorders, like insomnia
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Grief, anguish, and shock
When Can You Get Compensation for Pain and Suffering?
The State of California allows compensation for pain and suffering in the following instances:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Slip-and-fall accidents and other premises liability claims
- Defective products
- Intentional torts
- Medical malpractice
- Wrongful death
California has recently amended the cap on damages for medical malpractice claims, so you need to discuss your situation with an attorney right away to get a full explanation of your options if a doctor’s or hospital’s error led to your suffering.
How Much Can You Get?
Compensation for pain and suffering are considered “non-economic damages” since they are not easily quantified and don’t have a specific value or cost. Consequently, they are much harder to prove and calculate.
California does not use a set formula for calculating damages for pain and suffering, but the court will consider the following:
- The injured person’s financial and economic losses, including projected future costs
- The extent and severity of the injuries
- The extent of the other party’s negligence, recklessness, or wrongdoing
- The strength of the evidence presented
This is why you need to document your post-accident life as thoroughly as you can if you wish to pursue compensation for pain and suffering.
Top Ways to Document Pain and Suffering
In order to increase your chances of obtaining the maximum amount available for your pain and suffering, you will have to prove that your injury has negatively impacted your life since it happened. The following are methods you can use to help document your pain and suffering:
- Keep a journal – Your injury has caused ongoing pain and problems in virtually all areas of your life. Keep a daily record of the challenges you experience at work, school, or home. Every day, write down a pain score. You can use a one through ten system for this or any method of keeping track that will explain to a reader the level of your pain. If your pain is particularly bad when you try to do specific tasks, be sure to note that in your journal. This will help you remember details that will become important when you are questioned by the defendant’s insurance company. If your case goes to trial, a pain journal of this type can be persuasive evidence for the judge or jury.
- Obtain photos, videos, and other evidence – You can show the severity of your injury and even show videos of the life you enjoyed before your accident as compared to your life now that you can no longer do the things you loved.
- Get statements from family and friends – The people who know you best might provide the strong evidence to show your pain and suffering. These are the people who interact with you on a daily basis, and the ones who participate with you in activities you were passionate about before the accident. A statement from each of them discussing the changes in your outlook, personality, and ability to engage in the things you loved to do prior to the accident can be convincing evidence of the affect your accident-related pain and suffering has on your life.
Contact Us for Help
You want to get the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering, so you need to document everything. The more information you have, the greater your chances of obtaining an appropriate amount of compensation.
For help, you can reach out to the experienced San Diego personal injury attorneys of Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers. We have served clients throughout San Diego and the surrounding areas since 2000, and we are ready to help you get the money you deserve for your pain and suffering. Contact us at (619) 233-5020 to request a free consultation.