How Is ‘Pain and Suffering’ and Inconvenience Determined in a Car Accident?
“Pain and suffering” and inconvenience is 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 non-economic damages – including “pain and suffering” and inconvenience.
Non-economic damages are subjective and require a certain skill in communicating to an insurance company or jury. There is no maximum amount a jury can award.
“Pain and Suffering” and Inconvenience is a Non-Economic Damage
Unlike medically-related expenses or property damage costs, “pain and suffering” and inconvenience does not come with a price tag. This is what makes it “non-economic” or “non-monetary.”
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 they can collect. The higher the amount of medical bills, the higher the likelihood of “pain and suffering” and inconvenience, and the more logical it seems 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.
Elements That Affect Your Damages
A disfiguring injury or one with prominent scarring is likely to cause extensive “pain and suffering” and inconvenience.
Other factors that can add to the value of one’s non-economic losses include:
- 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, 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 losses.
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 likable or credible. Juries need to connect with a victim to award “pain and suffering” and inconvenience.
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.
Some other ways your lawyer can prove your “pain and suffering” and inconvenience includes using:
- Medical documents, test results, and x-rays
- Receipts for medical care
- A journal you kept documenting your healing and symptoms
Statutory Limits on “Pain and Suffering” and Inconvenience
Courts in the Commonwealth of Virginia must follow laws that govern the amount 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, Va. Code § 8.01-243 limits the amount of time you have to file a personal injury lawsuit in most situations.
When you work with an attorney, you will know if there is a maximum amount of “pain and suffering” and inconvenience you could receive.
How Your Accident Could Have Occurred
“Pain and suffering” and inconvenience can arise in many accident situations. These can involve two or more parties. Your injuries might have originated due to any of the following instances of negligence:
You could even pursue “pain and suffering” and inconvenience via a wrongful death lawsuit after your family member’s passes due to negligence.
Talk to a Personal Injury Attorney About Your Rights
Determining “pain and suffering” and inconvenience in a car accident can be tough. Your law firm can help evaluate these losses for you at no cost. Most law firms use the “multiplier method” when calculating pain and suffering. As you have seen above, a handful of factors influence this amount, but the multiplier method offers to many plaintiffs a starting point and a relief. Through this method, lawyers and insurers add all the damages you have incurred (for which you have bills, for instance), and then multiply the sum with a number between 1.5 and 5. Your car accident attorney in Fairfax County will explain you how things work and what amount of compensation you could ask an insurer or a court jury to award you.
You do not have to accomplish your entire case all by yourself. You might have physical limitations and a wide range of stressors due to the accident. Let your lawyer hold some of the burdens you are carrying.
During a free case evaluation, your legal team can discuss:
- Your injuries
- Any Virginia limits to which you might be subject to
- An estimate of what your case is worth
- How your “pain and suffering” and inconvenience will be determined in your car accident case
What You Should Know About Our Firm and how We Operate
Our team utilizes our knowledge and experience for our clients’ benefit. This includes our founding partner, Attorney Jim Parrish. Attorney Parrish used to support insurance companies with his legal knowledge. Now, he fights for victims of accidents.
We have been able to secure settlements and judgments like the following:
- $1.4 million for the survivor of a fatal head-on collision
- $700,000 for the mother of a fatal tractor-trailer crash victim
- $500,000 for a woman hit by a commercial truck and suffered injuries
- Six-figure settlement for a victim of a vehicle accident that suffered severe facial lacerations
We do not secure our attorney’s fee unless and until we win your case. Our fee comes out of your award. This encourages us to prioritize our clients’ needs.
Retain the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC for Your Case
The Parrish Law Firm, PLLC helps our clients get their stories across in a meaningful way. To schedule this free consultation, call (571) 229-1800.
Unsure about what to do after a car accident or have questions regarding your auto accident case that remain unanswered? Download our free Virginia Car Accident Guide eBook or give us a call at (571) 229 – 1800.