Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering After a Car Accident?

A personal injury lawyer can help you sue for pain and suffering from a motor vehicle accident if you were injured due to another party’s negligence or fault.

Pain and suffering damages are to compensate an injured person for the intangible, but very real, consequences of someone else’s negligence or fault. While it’s hard to put a dollar value on pain and suffering, these and other non-economic damages are endured by injured individuals on a daily basis, and they negatively affect quality of life, ability to work, and social and family relationships. Because of their tremendous impact, pain and suffering awards are often greater than those for economic damages.

If you or a loved one has suffered injury in a car accident or someone has died, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses through insurance or a lawsuit. However, North Carolina laws are complicated; insurance companies are out for profit and will try to deny claims or get you to accept the lowest amount possible; and making mistakes can cost you the compensation you deserve.

Fortunately, help is available from the Asheville car accident attorney Lakota Denton. We know the laws, the system, and the tactics insurance companies use. We can help you understand your rights and determine the best approach to take to secure fair compensation for pain and suffering and all other damages.

How Our Attorney Can Help You Get Compensation

When you hire the team at Lakota Denton, we will:

  • Meet with you to evaluate your case and determine what it may be worth
  • Investigate the accident to prove who was at fault, such as by obtaining photographs of the vehicles and the crash scene, obtaining video surveillance of the crash, interviewing any eyewitnesses and first responders, and obtaining the police crash report
  • Review all medical records and bills and contact your doctors to detail your injuries to the insurance company
  • Consult expert witnesses to reconstruct the accident and determine what your costs and financial losses are, as well as the way your life has been affected by your pain and suffering and the care that will be necessary in the future
  • File all necessary documents and make court appearances according to North Carolina law and deadlines
  • Negotiate with all insurance companies for a fair settlement
  • Build your case and take it to trial and present it in front of a judge and jury, if necessary.

Insurance companies and their attorneys tend to take your case more seriously and negotiate accordingly if they know you have an attorney on your side who is willing to take your case to court.

How Much do You Get for Pain and Suffering?

There is no specific dollar value that can be put on pain and suffering, so awards vary greatly, depending on the individual circumstances involved.

Damages from pain and suffering are awarded to compensate for the loss of comfort, happiness, and opportunity after an accident or injury. Factors that will be considered in calculating a fair amount include the circumstances of the accident, the degree of fault, the severity and permanence of the injury and the suffering that resulted, and the availability of insurance and assets to go toward a settlement.

Methods to Calculate Pain and Suffering Damages

North Carolina courts often use two basic methods for figuring out how your pain and suffering factors into a settlement.

The Multiplier Method

This is a scale from 1 to 5 where your economic losses (that include medical expenses, lost wages and property damage), are multiplied by a number, based on severity. For very severe injuries, such as brain injuries, paralysis, or amputation, the number would likely be 4 or 5. For less serious injuries that are likely to fully heal, the multiplier would be 1 or 2.

The Per Diem Method

For situations where you will make a full recovery, pain and suffering damages amounts may be calculated by multiplying a set amount by the number of days in which you suffered. This number will be negotiated by our lawyers.

North Carolina doesn’t limit pain and suffering damage amounts, except in medical malpractice cases. According to the law, (NCS § 90-21.19), there is a $500,000 cap on pain and suffering (non-economic damages) in a medical malpractice lawsuit. The cap is waived if the court finds that the defendant was reckless, grossly negligent, fraudulent, intentional, or malicious in causing the plaintiff’s serious injury or death.

In general, the greater the injuries and medical expenses, the greater the amount for pain and suffering. The skill of your attorney to negotiate and the inclination of a judge and jury should the case go to trial are also important factors.

Lakota Denton knows how to deal with insurance companies and is fully prepared to take your case to court if necessary to fight for the optimum compensation possible. Because he has won cases in the courtroom, insurance companies are likely to make better offers to clients to prevent the case from going to trial.

How an Attorney Proves Pain and Suffering from a Car Accident

In order to win your case, our attorneys would have to show that your injuries were caused by another party’s negligence or fault.

Legally, this means showing the existence of the following factors:

  • Duty: The defendant had a duty of care not to cause harm.
  • Breach: The defendant breached this duty by acting or failing to act.
  • Cause: This wrongful act, neglect, or default caused the car accident that led to your injuries.
  • Damages: You suffered damages as a result.

Everyone has a duty to be careful and not to cause harm to others, or they can be held liable for the damages that they caused. For example, if your accident was caused by a drunk driver who ran a red light, the driver breached the duty to drive carefully, and this wrongful act caused your injury and resulted in damages, including your pain and suffering.

In some cases, there may be several parties who could be liable for causing an accident. Our attorneys would look to name them all in a lawsuit, as they may all have insurance and assets that could go toward a settlement.

Proving Pain and Suffering

Since pain and suffering is subjective and is experienced differently by different people, there are many approaches to proving pain and suffering amounts. Not only would we have to show the physical damages that are painful, such as broken bones and nerve damage, but we would show evidence of emotional pain and suffering. Examples of this type of pain and suffering include:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Anger, humiliation, emotional distress
  • Loss of appetite and energy
  • Mood swings
  • Mental anguish
  • Sleep disturbances.

To help prove pain and suffering, you should keep a journal of the symptoms you are experiencing and maintain medication receipts and pharmacy records. Photographs of your injuries and details of the medical procedures and treatments you underwent and complications you experienced also help document your suffering. Our attorney would gather testimony from life care coaches as to how your injuries have impacted your life, ability to work, and relationships, and testimony from family members, friends, coworkers, or acquaintances who have personal knowledge of your suffering.

Call Our Skilled Team for Help with a Pain and Suffering Legal Case

Calculating pain and suffering is complicated, and North Carolina’s negligence laws can be unfavorable to plaintiffs because if you had any liability for the accident or injury, you can’t recover anything at all.

When you suffer injuries in a car crash that was not your fault, count on our car accident lawyer to help. Our law firm has won multiple six-figure awards for our clients over the years. We understand how insurance companies treat victims of car crashes, and we’ll fight to win you the best settlement possible and take them on in court, if necessary. Let us handle the legal hurdles so you can focus on your health.

Do not delay. There is a statute of limitations, a deadline for filing a personal injury case.  According to North Carolina law, (NCS § 1-52) you generally have three years to file after a car accident or the courts are likely to refuse to hear your case. Call Lakota Denton today for help at (828) 333-5996 to get your free consultation.

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