Determining Pain And Suffering After A Car Accident: A Primer

29 April 2016
 Categories: Law, Blog


During a personal injury suit in which you have received injuries due to a car accident, you may be entitled to damages due to pain and suffering caused by the accident. In addition, your insurance company may have their own qualifications for determining pain and suffering. However, there are certain ways in which pain and suffering should be both qualified and quantified. Throughout the course of this brief article, you will learn about how pain and suffering are treated as legal items during a personal injury suit as well as how they are determined by insurance companies.

General Damages

Generally speaking, a court will treat both physical trauma and mental or emotional anguish as "general damages." That essentially means that there is no quick and easy way to go about quantifying these damages with a simple formula. The amount granted by the court often times relates to the significance of the injury. For example, broken bones tend to be considered a more significant injury than a soft tissue injury, like a bruise or even a deep cut. Emotional or psychological pain is often times even harder to determine than physical trauma, although, generally speaking, if the accident has caused you to seek therapy, then you are more likely to receive both compensation and pain and suffering damages.

Insurance Companies and Determining Pain

Insurance companies often have their own definition of how they determine pain and suffering, but this is often a bit more nebulous than a court's rubric of general damages. Insurance companies basically start off with one major supposition: if you did not go to the doctor to begin with, you must have not been in pain. The working definition of pain and suffering from insurance companies basically associates time spent with physicians and therapists in a medical setting tantamount to the amount of pain and suffering you have endured. This is often corroborated by your medical records, as well as the amount of time you took off of school or work to recover from your injuries.

Evidence Review

In addition to your medical history and time taken off of school and work, there are usually a number of other items that your insurance company will review, including your medical bills, photographic evidence of your physical injuries, documentation of OTC medications, and records of prescriptions assigned to you due to pain and suffering caused by the car accident.

If you have any further questions regarding how pain and suffering are determined throughout the course of a personal injury case, it is recommended that you contact a local and trusted personal injury or car accident lawyer.