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Determining Pain And Suffering In A Vehicle Accident


A pain and suffering claim is allowed in most states when being in a car accident or any accident. Since pain and suffering is not a damage that can really be calculated, it can sometimes prove difficult to claim. It is not something that can be seen by another person because they are not the one’s experiencing it. Surely enough, there could be symptoms of pain, but knowing the extent of the pain is only subjective to the person experiencing it.

Managing pain is subjective to a person’s threshold. So, determining the severity of what the person is feeling proves difficult. An injury that one person may experience can just cause them to take a painkiller, while for another person, it could be a reason to go to the emergency room. A lot of it has to do with a person’s mental power.

Pain and Suffering Fall Under General Damages

General damages are harms that cannot be calculated with numbers. Pain and suffering is the amount of pain someone is going through, and the emotional anguish from that pain. There is no way to calculate this type of pain. It is usually subjective in nature, and can be influenced by the jury’s personal experience, if they have been through that same pain. Usually a personal injury attorney are able to calculate this.

There are common injuries that can be presumed to be painful such as, a person requiring months of healing for a broken knee cap. This injury would require to wear a cast to aid in the healing process, and sometimes even screws might have to be inserted into the bone. With this said, the pain is obvious in this case. It would cause the person both physical and mental pain while trying to recover.

There are other less obvious injuries such as, damages to a ligament. With these injuries, they cannot be seen on x-rays, but for someone going through with it, knows and feels that the pain is there.

Evaluation of Pain and Suffering by Insurance Companies

The reason why seeking medical attention immediately following an accident is vital, is because it is an indicator that the person must have been in pain. If a person does not go to seek assistance, then it could be presumed that they were fine and had no pain. It would be the injured person’s word that they are experiencing pain and suffering, but their actions do not prove so to the insurance companies.

Insurance companies also assume that an injury that required more medical treatment gives off more pain and suffering than an injury that didn’t require as much treatment, as well as the length of recovery for the injuries. This can hold true, but there are exceptions to this rule. The evaluation of a claim is affected by these assumptions.

If there is evidence to support the injury, such as medical documentation, then the insurance companies give a greater value to the injury. There are injuries that cannot be seen by a doctor, only experienced by the patient. According to the complaints being described to the doctor, the doctor can jot down the symptoms, and note the complaints and symptoms in the medical record of the patient, and explain how they came in on that day complaining about the pain.

Just taking the time to go get the injuries checked out serves as a form of validity to insurance companies. If they see that the person did not take the time to do so, then they must not have been in any pain to begin with.

What Evidence is Viewed by The Insurance Companies?

Supporting documentation of what the plaintiff is claiming will be a factor in the determination of the pain and suffering endured. Keeping those records in prestige condition is imperative as a corroboration for the person’s claims. Documents included are:

  • Medical history
  • Expenses
  • Pictures of the scene and physical injures
  • Lost time at work documents
  • Drug records

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About the Author

Professional & trustworthy DUI & Criminal Defense Lawyer Blackie Burak, Esq. defending your rights.