Unlike damage to your car and injuries to your body, pain and suffering is subjective and sometimes difficult for others to understand. What are pain and suffering damages, and how can you seek compensation for them?
If you sustained injuries in a car accident, an experienced Manchester NH car accident lawyer can help. At the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC, we pride ourselves on our experience, client service, and professionalism. Contact us today to learn more about recovering damages for pain and suffering in a car accident.
What Are Pain and Suffering Damages?
Most car accident damages are tangible, and can therefore be measured objectively. For example, a broken leg or a smashed bumper are both things that a doctor or an auto body shop can attest to. In much the same way, an employer can verify that you had to miss work while trying to recover from your injuries. Damages in these situations may include real out-of-pocket costs, such as medical treatment, prescriptions, vehicle repair, and lost wages from missing work.
These economic damages, however, are not the biggest part of the impact. Pain and suffering, the interruption of life, the loss of enjoyment of life and the activities which are important to you, are often very significant but not as easy to calculate. Legally speaking, pain and suffering damages are the total cost of your physical (pain) and emotional (suffering) damages.
Pain and suffering damages can apply to both major and minor car accidents. They take into account stress from both the accident and any injuries caused by it. So, for example, if an accident caused serious burns, you could seek pain and suffering damages for the mental and emotional toll you were under due to the pain of the injury itself, stress of undergoing treatment, the impact the injury had on your ability to continue your daily routine or to earn a living, and the emotional damages associated with the scarring.
How Are Pain and Suffering Damages Calculated?
Though there is no simple rule to calculate pain and suffering damages, they can be expressed in financial terms. Insurance companies look at two things when they calculate pain and suffering:
- Severity – Pain and suffering damages will be higher the more serious your bodily injuries from the accident are. For example, damages will be more for temporary loss of sight than whiplash in the neck.
- Permanence – Pain and suffering will also be higher the more permanent your bodily injuries from the accident are. A broken arm will eventually heal, but permanent disfigurement from burns will justify higher pain and suffering compensation.
An experienced car accident attorney can help you calculate pain and suffering damages in your car accident claim. There is no fixed multiplier. It all depends on what the impacts were on your life. Because of this, it is important to try to track the activities you miss out on, the vacation you had to skip, how you felt, etc.
How Do You Recover Pain and Suffering Damages in New Hampshire?
Most states, including New Hampshire, hold at-fault drivers financially liable for all reasonable damages resulting from the accident they caused. So, you can sue them in court for damages and negotiate a settlement with their insurance provider. If a settlement cannot be reached, then you will sue the driver (the insurance company will pray for the driver’s attorney, cover the driver’s expenses, and pay the judgment, but the process requires that you sue the driver and you will not be allowed to tell the jury that there is insurance). If your case goes to trial, a jury will value your damages. You attorney may suggest to the jury an amount that is fair, but the jury is not bound by what either attorney requests.
Why You Need an Injury Attorney After a Car Accident
After suffering injuries in a car accident, your first priority should be to look after your own safety and health. Seek medical treatment if you need it. If you delay in calling for medical help, your injuries might worsen. Also, document the accident and injuries with photographs, gather witness information, and keep an injury diary tracking the major impacts.
Your next step should be to hire an experienced Manchester NH car accident attorney. Your lawyer will help you weigh your legal options based on what they know worked in prior car accident cases. They’ll also deal with the at-fault driver’s lawyer and insurance company for you. However, time is of the essence. New Hampshire limits the amount of time you have to file a suit after a car accident.
Contact an Experienced Manchester NH Car Accident Attorney Today
If you suffered injuries in an accident, it’s important to maximize the amount of compensation you can receive. An experienced Manchester NH car accident attorney at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC can help. Contact us today for a free consultation.