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What Does "Pain & Suffering" Mean in a Car Accident?


In the legal world, the term “pain and suffering” is involved in almost all accident cases. In car accident cases, for instance, “pain and suffering” may have particularly broad applicability. While it may be comparatively easy for a plaintiff to present evidence to secure compensation for certain “out-of-pocket” expenses, proving the existence of pain and suffering is much more intractable.

However, while pain and suffering may be difficult to determine, there is an upside to seeking damages under this justification; a skilled lawyer will be argue to establish pain and suffering in a range of accidents, from less serious to more dangerous incidents. Keep reading for everything you need to know, and contact our experienced Dunedin car accident attorney at Paulsen Law if you have recently been injured in a collision.

What Constitutes Pain & Suffering?

Pain and suffering can include any lingering emotional or physical damage one experiences following an accident. Although there are no specific criteria constituting pain and suffering, the definition of the term may encompass a wide range of ongoing ailments

Common examples of pain and suffering include:

  • The pain from an injury itself
  • The pain from long-term effects of an injury
  • Treatments related to recovering from an injury
  • Ongoing or lingering discomfort from an injury
  • Limitations put on someone’s lifestyle related to an injury

Because pain and suffering is not only related to physical trauma but emotional trauma as well, the above factors may also be applied to someone’s mental state. For instance, physical scars may cause physical discomfort or pain, but they can also stigmatize a person, putting them in emotional suffering related to their injury. This may force them to seek treatment not only for their physical scars but for the mental scars they suffer from as well, through forms of therapy or other emotional support. This could also be possible evidence of pain and suffering.

How Do You Determine Pain & Suffering?

Again, because pain and suffering encompasses a wide range of issues, it may be hard to determine what pain and suffering looks like in a particular case. For instance, in accident cases where one party sustained significant physical damage to their person, including fractured bones of significant bruises, it is easier to argue that there will be ongoing pain and suffering. The greater the physical injuries are, the easier it will be to argue that compensation for pain and suffering is warranted. However, following accidents where the physical evidence is not as noticeable, it may be harder to prove the presence of pain and suffering.

This is not to say it is impossible, however. As mentioned above, pain and suffering may include ongoing discomfort, which can be harder to demonstrate in a court of law, but may still prove an effective justification depending on the effectiveness of your representation. It is also important to reiterate the emotional aspect. If the trauma of an accident is great enough where an individual is having nightmares, panic attacks, or is unable to function in normal society, this may be used to prove pain and suffering.

Because Florida is a no-fault insurance state, it may be harder to prove pain and suffering than elsewhere in the U.S. In most states, liability following an accident falls on the person who is deemed at fault, and they will be held accountable for all damages. In no-fault states like Florida, however, you are unable to file a personal injury claim or collect damages for pain and suffering unless your medical bills exceed a certain amount.

This is another reason why it is extremely important to seek the counsel of a practiced attorney following an accident. Even if your medical bills do not initially seem particularly high, you may be able to argue for pain and suffering compensation if you will have ongoing costs related to discomfort, pain management or rehabilitation, or emotional trauma.

Fight for Compensation, Hire a Lawyer Today

Following a car accident or other serious injury, you may be tempted to settle your claim through insurance. However, while this might seem like the easier option, it may actually prove to be cause more problems in the long-run. Insurance companies are obligated to protect their bottom line, so they will always attempt to make sure you receive the lowest amount of compensation possible. In many cases, the insurer or the party who was actually responsible for the accident will also argue that you were at fault, and do everything in their power to avoid compensating you entirely. A a lawyer can advocate on your behalf in a way your insurance company simply cannot.

In addition to other damages related to pain and suffering, an intelligent litigator may be able to help you recover costs related to:

  • Medical bills
  • Medication
  • Physical Therapy
  • Loss of wages
  • Loss of earning potential

At Paulsen Law Group, our compassionate and tenacious personal injury attorneys have over 15 years of experience advocating for clients in Dunedin and across the Gulf Coast of Florida. From car accidents to motorcycle accidents to truck accidents and even boating accidents, we promise to never stop fighting to make sure you receive every penny you deserve. We also offer free consultations, so you feel completely comfortable before committing to anything. Don’t let pain and suffering control your life. Hire Paulsen Law Group today.

Dial at (727) 270-8260 now to speak to an attorney, or contact us at your earliest convenience online.

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