If you have been injured in a minor car accident, you may be eligible for damages for “pain and suffering.” These are awarded for physical pain and other ways the accident has affected your life. However, if your accident was not serious, it may be difficult to recover much money for pain and suffering.
Large awards for pain and suffering are common in serious car accidents where a victim’s life has been dramatically altered. But sometimes a minor accident causes painful and limiting injuries, allowing you to recover pain and suffering too. A good car accident lawyer can evaluate your case and help you understand your options.
What is “pain and suffering”?
Some of the damages you may be eligible for after a car accident relate to your out of pocket costs: medical bills, car repairs and time you missed from work. Pain and suffering damages attempt to make up for the other ways the accident has impacted your life. Pain and suffering might be awarded for:
- Physical pain
- Having to change careers because of your injury
- Emotional distress
- Loss of the ability to enjoy activities or relationships
- Loss of the ability to lead the life you used to lead
In general, you are more likely to have these types of losses if you have been in a serious accident than if you have only been in a minor one.
How do insurance companies calculate the value of pain and suffering?
Insurance companies usually use a formula. They rate your accident on a scale from one to five, with one being the most minor and five being the most severe. Then they multiply the amount of your medical bills (and other costs) by this number to come up with a value for pain and suffering.
This means that a pain and suffering award won’t be very large if you had a minor accident that only required one trip to the doctor. But some minor car accidents do cause serious and very painful injuries that limit your ability to participate in activities and enjoy life. The neck injury whiplash is a classic example of this. A good car accident lawyer may be able to develop evidence to show that you have significant pain and suffering and are entitled to damages, even if the accident caused only minor vehicle damage.
Do I need to sue someone to get pain and suffering damages?
A jury can award pain and suffering damages in car accident law suits in Atlanta, but you may also be awarded money for pain and suffering as part of an insurance settlement before any lawsuit is ever filed. The key to recovering money for pain and suffering is to talk to a car accident lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. Your lawyer can get to work building a case, and can prevent you from falling victim to insurance company traps designed to keep you from getting the money you deserve.
Talk to an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer for Free
Our lawyers have been winning money for pain and suffering for decades. We never charge a fee unless we win you money. Let us put our experience to work for you, starting with a free, no obligation consultation. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.