How Is ‘Pain and Suffering’ And Inconvenience Determined In a Car Accident?
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‘Pain and suffering’ and inconvenience are determined by several factors in a car accident. If you suffered personal injuries in any type of accident involving negligence, Virginia law allows you to pursue ‘pain and suffering’ and inconvenience damages. A victim must specifically prove these damages and should not take their award for granted.
Is There an Exact Way to Determine ‘Pain and Suffering’ and Inconvenience Damages?
These noneconomic damages are subjective and require a certain skill in communicating to an insurance company or jury. The minimum amount of ‘pain and suffering’ and inconvenience damages is something close to zero. There is no maximum amount a jury can award.
‘Pain and Suffering’ and Inconvenience Are Noneconomic Damages
Unlike medical medical-related expenses or the repair or replacement of property, ‘pain and suffering’ and inconvenience damages do not come with a price tag. This is what makes them “noneconomic” or “nonmonetary.”
Adding to the complexity of calculating these damages is that a jury can award money for ‘pain and suffering’ and inconvenience that has not even happened yet. Virginia juries can award both past and future damages.
The total of the claimant’s economic damages (medical treatment expenses, etc.) will affect the amount of ‘pain and suffering’ and inconvenience. The higher the amount of medical bills, the higher the likelihood of ‘pain and suffering’ and inconvenience, and the more logical it seems to a jury to award a higher figure.
The Subjective Nature of ‘Pain and Suffering’ and Inconvenience
Even with a mountain of medical bills, ‘pain and suffering’ and inconvenience still requires proof. Injuries affect each victim differently. While some injuries may lend themselves to a foregone conclusion of ‘pain and suffering’ and inconvenience, others are far more subjective.
A regular triathlon competitor, for example, is likely to suffer greater ‘pain and suffering’ and inconvenience following a foot injury than someone who leads a more sedentary lifestyle.
A disfiguring injury or one with prominent scarring is likely to cause more ‘pain and suffering’ and inconvenience to someone in a public-facing position than to someone who lives or works in a more isolated area.
Other factors that vary from one case to the next are:
- The severity of the victim’s injury
- The victim’s anticipated recovery period
- Whether maximum medical improvement will have the victim in the same place he or she was in prior to the accident
- The demographics of the jurors in the jurisdiction where the case is pending
Communicating ‘pain and suffering’ and inconvenience Damages
In order for a victim to recover maximum ‘pain and suffering’ and inconvenience damages, a jury must have a clear picture of the victim’s life before and after the accident.
Expert Testimony Helps
Doctors and other experts can testify as to the objective nature of the victim’s injuries, using logic to connect the victim’s injuries to ‘pain and suffering’ and inconvenience. However, the victim and/or other witnesses will need to provide details of a more subjective nature to make more of an emotional connection between the injuries and their resulting ‘pain and suffering’ and inconvenience.
As important as the victim’s entire story is, constraints in time and attention require testimony that is the right length and with the right amount of details. This is somewhat of an art.
Unfortunately, regardless of what they have been through, not all victims or their families come across as likeable or credible. Juries need to connect to a victim in order to award ‘pain and suffering’ and inconvenience damages.
An Attorney Can Guide You Through It
A trial attorney works with accident victims and witnesses to be absolutely truthful but also prevent them from making innocent mistakes in body language, word choices, dress, and other factors that can lead juries to make unconscious conclusions unrelated to the facts of the case.
It is essential to work with an attorney who can help you tell your story in the most compelling way possible to convince a jury to award ‘pain and suffering’ and inconvenience damages.
Statutory Limits on ‘Pain and Suffering’ and Inconvenience
Courts in the Commonwealth of Virginia must follow laws that govern the award of ‘pain and suffering’ and inconvenience in car accident cases. If the defendant is a public school or public transportation provider, the amount of damages available to the victim is limited.
Also Virginia law § 8.01-243 limits the amount of time you have to file a personal injury claim under a car accident in most situations.
When you work with the right attorney, you will know if there is a maximum amount of ‘pain and suffering’ and inconvenience damages you could receive.
Talk to a Personal Injury Attorney about Your Rights
Parrish Law Firm, PLLC helps their clients get their stories across in a meaningful way. Determining ‘pain and suffering’ and inconvenience in a car accident can be tough. Our law firm can help evaluate ‘pain and suffering’ and inconvenience damages for you at no cost. During a free case evaluation, we can discuss your injuries, any Virginia limits to which you might be subject to, and an estimate of what your case is worth.
To schedule this free consultation, call 571-229-1800.