Suing for Pain and Suffering After a Car Accident
Pain and suffering is one of the damages that families or victims can make a claim for after being injured in a car accident. When discussing pain and suffering, it is important to know that there are two kinds:
- Physical pain and suffering: This type refers to the victim’s physical injuries, which include both the immediate injuries sustained after the crash as well as injuries that may gradually develop or only become apparent sometime afterwards. For example, a victim in a car collision may suffer a fractured arm and have that treated in the emergency room. Later, that same victim may feel pronounced back pain that was not obvious in the immediate aftermath of the crash. Common injuries that come up during the pain and suffering portion of a case that may take time to develop can include nerve damage, a herniated disc, spinal injuries, or fractures that are difficult to diagnose. A skilled and experienced attorney will also present evidence to support a claim for future pain and suffering, which refers to how the injuries will impact a person after a case concludes. This type of claim may focus on the progressive nature of an injury and how it can worsen over time. Most pain and suffering claims will include some evidence of how an injury affects a person’s ability to enjoy their life. A jury will potentially be asked to evaluate, among other things, how car accident victims’ injuries affect their happiness, their ability to pursue and enjoy their passions, and impact their relationships with loved ones.
- Mental pain and suffering: This type involves the mental suffering from the victim’s physical injuries and the trauma they may endure from the crash. Mental pain and suffering can include mental anguish, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, anger, depression, shock, or even PTSD. For example, if you have been in a car accident and later find it difficult to drive a car because of the trauma of the accident, this would fall under mental pain and suffering.
Calculating monetary compensation for these types of damages is not easy. It is difficult to put a dollar amount on someone’s pain and suffering after they have been in an accident for numerous reasons, but especially because their injuries extend beyond physical ones. Because injuries can be so broad, pain and suffering is often hard to define. A tragic car accident can result in a major disruption of a victim’s life––from broken bones, to lost work time, to an inability to enjoy daily activities, to mental health issues. It is common to experience anger, grief, depression, anxiety, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after an accident has occurred.
Pain and suffering damages may be harder to calculate, but they are important. Often, the pain and suffering the victim experiences has a lasting effect on the victim’s life. This remains true even if the victim succumbs to their injuries and does not survive the accident. In fatal car accidents, the family and loved ones of the victim are entitled to damages for the pain and suffering that the victim experienced before death.
Suffice to say, any claim for pain and suffering will require a careful analysis by an experienced, talented personal injury attorney.
How to Calculate Pain and Suffering Damages
Generally, damages in a personal injury case are divided into two categories: economic and non-economic. Economic damages can include the victim’s past and future medical bills, funeral expenses, and any past or future loss of income, among other things. These damages tend to be simpler to assess, because they are easily quantifiable. Non-economic damages can be harder to quantify and deal less with the tangible aspects of a car accident victim’s case. These refer to how the injury or death affected the victim or how the victim’s family will be affected in the long run. Pain and suffering falls into this category of damages, as it is not easy to measure someone’s suffering.
Even though it is not easy, car accident victims still deserve compensation for their suffering. If a case goes to trial, a jury will analyze medical treatment, clinical complaints, medications required, and any surgeries that a victim undergoes to determine a fair award for the victim’s pain and suffering.
The auto accident attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy are here to help you through this extremely challenging time. To discuss what damages you may be entitled to as a car accident victim, please call 212-736-5300 today or fill out our Contact Form. We serve New York and New Jersey.
Pain and Suffering in New York
Some rules for pain and suffering damages differ by state. In New York, there are a few laws relating to pain and suffering that are important to know.
Pain and Suffering Damages for the Family
In New York, families cannot sue for compensation for their own grief after a family member’s wrongful death. If a father died in a car crash, for example, the surviving family members could claim pain and suffering damages for the father’s mental and physical suffering before his death, but they could not claim damages for their own struggles with grief because of his death.
No Limit on Pain and Suffering Damages
New York does not place a formal limit on the amount of pain and suffering damages that can be awarded to the victim. If the case goes to court, it is up to the jury to determine the amount of financial compensation that is sufficient for the victim or the victim’s family. New York is one of a few states that does not place a cap––other states fear that the jury will award much more than is deserved to a sympathetic victim. Thankfully, New York State believes that all victims should have a chance at receiving the compensation they rightfully deserve. However, it is important to note that appellate courts may review any award for pain and suffering and will reduce awards that are not fair and reasonable based on the evidence presented during the trial.
NYC Lawyers Recovering Pain and Suffering Damages for Car Accident Victims
Financial compensation can never make up for a life-altering injury or the loss of a loved one. However, the attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy are here to make this extremely hard time easier for you. We fight aggressively for our clients and prepare each case as though it is going to trial, so that our clients can recover without the financial burden that comes with a tragic accident.
Our lawyers work to recover every dollar that our clients are legally entitled to. Select results in auto accident cases include:
- $32,756,156 verdict for a 60-year-old army veteran who was struck on the side of the road and suffered severe mental and physical damages
- $22,500,000 settlement for a 32-year-old upstate NY father who sustained serious injuries to his left arm and elbow after getting into a head-on collision
- $20,181,484 verdict for a man whose car was struck on an icy road that left him unable to use his arm
- $14,000,000 settlement for a motorcyclist who was hit by a truck, resulting in over 10 surgeries on his leg, including a below-the-knee amputation
- $7,525,000 settlement in a tragic case for surviving family members after a mother and son were tragically killed in a Long Island car crash
- $5,000,000 settlement for the surviving family of a mother who died after a garbage truck lost control and struck her
- $3,000,000 settlement for the wife and children of a Long Island man who died in a car collision
- $2,558,000 settlement for the wife of a 31-year-old man who was tragically killed in a Brooklyn car crash
- $1,500,000 settlement for the parents of a driver who died after his car slipped on black ice, causing his car to spin out of control and crash into another vehicle