If you’ve ever watched a legal thriller on television, then you’re probably familiar with the term pain and suffering. Unfortunately, a lot of plaintiffs assume that everyone gets pain and suffering if they’re injured in a car crash. The truth is that your Irvine car accident lawyer will have to prove certain elements in order to demand this type of compensation. Pain and suffering are intended to compensate victims for the physical and mental anguish caused by the crash. If you can’t prove that you experienced these things, then your attorney’s hands will be tied. However, you can count on them fighting hard to get you as much money as possible.
Pain and Suffering is a Special Type of Damages
When people file a personal injury lawsuit, they make a demand for two types of damages. One type is referred to as compensatory damages. These are meant to reimburse you for any out-of-pocket expenses. This would include medical bills, lost income, and property damages. The second type of damages is considered non-economic damages. These are a lot harder to put a dollar value on.
Your attorney will have to prove to a judge or jury that your injuries were so severe that they wreaked havoc on your life. They need to demonstrate that you suffered an extreme amount of pain. They’ll also have to show that you suffered mental anguish as well. These things can’t always be documented using receipts from medical bills or other expenses. They are intangible. This means your Irvine car accident lawyer may need to hire an expert witness to testify as to your pain and mental suffering.
Some States Put a Cap on Pain and Suffering
Like most other states, if you get hurt in any sort of accident, you may be entitled to damages for pain and suffering. This could be true even if you were partially at fault for your accident. In order to prove these damages, however, your attorney will have to look hard for evidence. For example, they may be able to submit copies of your medical records showing that you had multiple surgeries following the accident.
For plaintiffs who were hurt in a fire, it isn’t all that difficult to prove that burn injuries were extremely painful. Thankfully, California isn’t one of those states who limit the amount you can demand in a normal personal injury case. Unless you’re suing someone for medical malpractice, you can demand as much as you want. Of course, the amount must be in proportion to the seriousness of your injuries.
You Aren’t Automatically Entitled to These Damages
As mentioned above, not all plaintiffs can demand pain and suffering. If the only loss you suffered in a car crash was damage to your vehicle, you can’t expect to receive pain and suffering. In other cases, your injuries may have been minor. If all you had to deal with was whiplash, no judge or jury is going to award you pain and suffering damages. However, if you lose a limb or end up in a wheelchair as a result of your accident, you may be entitled to a significant amount of pain and suffering.
Your Irvine Car Accident Lawyer Must Prove Your Physical and Mental Anguish
The law states that pain and suffering is intended to compensate victims for physical and mental anguish. If your Irvine car accident lawyer is able to show that you’ll need long-term psychiatric care for PTSD or depression, then you may satisfy the mental anguish requirement. But that doesn’t tell you exactly how much you can expect to receive.
There’s a General Rule for Calculating Pain and Suffering
Most Irvine car accident lawyers rely on a simple formula for determining how much you should demand for pain and suffering. One simple rule is that you take your economic damages and multiply them by 3. If your injuries are more serious, you may multiply this number by 4 or 5. Just know that this formula is a great starting point in your case. Most plaintiffs accept a much lower amount in exchange for a fair settlement of their case. This way, your attorney won’t have to go to trial. If that’s the case, you’ll receive your lump sum settlement a lot faster than if you go to trial.
Call and Meet With an Experienced Irvine Car Accident Lawyer
If you feel you deserve a large settlement that includes pain and suffering, it’s a good idea to get an attorney’s opinion. Call our office and schedule your free consultation with an experienced Irvine car accident lawyer before you take any legal action.