How to Get Compensation For Pain And Suffering After A Car Accident

3-27-24-hourglass-300x200Car accidents can have life-altering repercussions. For many survivors, the road to recovery is anything but straightforward. Even when physical injuries seem likely to heal, other wounds sometimes linger for far longer—making it difficult for victims to get a good night’s sleep, reclaim their self-esteem, or live a life unburdened by pain.

In New York, no-fault insurance policies ensure a baseline of medical benefits—benefits that can help drivers, and injured passengers, mitigate the costs of routine care. However, insurance settlements often fall short, with payments restricted by statute and subject to the terms of a motorist’s coverage. Companies are rarely, if ever, required to compensate survivors for pain and suffering.

A personal injury lawsuit, in contrast, provides an opportunity to recover a much wider range of economic and non-economic damages. Compensation for pain and suffering falls into the latter category, and typically consists of either, or both, of the following components:

  1. Physical Pain and Suffering: Damages for physical pain and suffering arise from physical injuries sustained in a car accident, including pain caused by acute physical trauma, chronic pain disorders, and the anticipated physical effects of a disabling or otherwise long-lasting injury.
  2. Emotional Pain and Suffering: Damages for emotional pain and suffering may be awarded to victims whose mental health and psychological well-being have been harmed alongside their physical bodies. Examples of emotional pain and suffering damages could include anguish, loss of enjoyment, and anxiety.

Since New York only permits car accident victims to file personal injury lawsuits if they have sustained extensive economic loss or “serious [physical] injury,” damages awarded for pain and suffering often reflect the gravity of a survivor’s anguish—and can, in many cases, constitute a significant proportion of an eventual settlement or court-ordered award.

Although there is no single formula for determining pain and suffering damages, the Dietrich Law Firm P.C. usually employs either of the following methods:

  1. The Multiplier Method: The multiplier method bases non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, on a victim’s assessed economic damages—the total amount multiplied by a number between 1.5 and 5.
  2. The Per Diem Method: The Per Diem method sets a daily compensation rate for pain and suffering, which is multiplied by the number of days an accident victim has suffered and is expected to continue suffering.

New York, unlike some other states, does not limit or otherwise cap pain and suffering damages in most motor vehicle collision claims. However, since survivors and insurance companies cannot always reach a consensus on a good multiplier—or see eye-to-eye on definitions of a “fair” daily rate—negotiation is often a matter of practical necessity. Claims for pain and suffering must therefore be consistent with accepted legal precedent and underlain by a significant body of evidence.

Depending on the circumstances of your accident-related injuries, evidence of pain and suffering could include any of the following:

  1. A pain journal;
  2. Medical records and a physician’s report;
  3. Testimony from friends or family members;
  4. Testimony from an expert witness, like a doctor or psychologist; and
  5. Prescription records for drugs used to relieve physical pain or mental suffering.

The Dietrich Law Firm P.C.’s experienced team of personal injury lawyers knows what it takes to make a compelling claim for pain and suffering damages—and we have the results to prove it. Please message us online or call us at 716-839-3939 to schedule your 100% free, no-obligation consultation as soon as possible.

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