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

Accident attorney

Those who suffer injuries in car crashes may be wondering, can you sue for pain and suffering after a car accident? Victims do have the ability to seek damages for pain and suffering related to the accident and their injuries, as well as for medical bills and lost wages.

Some of the items that can be part of a pain and suffering judgment include:

  • Current physical pain related to the injury
  • Ongoing pain from the injuries
  • Mental anguish related to the accident
  • Psychological trauma related to disfiguring or debilitating injuries
  • A reduction in quality of life or expected lifespan
  • Emotional setbacks related to the injury.

As long as the other driver caused the accident, your injuries relate directly to the car accident, and you are within Washington state law’s two-year statute of limitations for starting a claim, a pain and suffering judgment is possible.

How Much Do You Get for Pain and Suffering?

Calculating a potential pain and suffering damages amount can be a challenging process for you and your attorney. Pain and suffering award amounts are not clear cut. This differs from receiving awards for easily calculated costs, such as for medical bills.

So how much do you get for pain and suffering? It really depends on the severity of the injuries you suffered and on the lingering effects you may have from those injuries. Someone who is able to return to work after a couple of weeks of recuperation likely will not receive the same amount of compensation as someone who is facing permanent disability from the accident.

Those who recover quickly from their injuries may receive an award of a few thousand dollars. Those with significant injuries that result in a permanent change in the quality of life could receive several hundred thousand dollars or more.

Pain and Suffering from a Car Accident

When another driver hits your car and is found to be at fault for the crash, you will be able to seek damages. A pain and suffering from a car accident judgment is separate from compensation for things like medical bills or the repair or replacement costs for your car damaged in the crash.

Understand that a pain and suffering award will involve a few different considerations.

Physical Pain

When you have injuries like broken bones, severe cuts and bruises, and a concussion, you will have significant physical pain immediately after the crash. This pain may slow your physical recovery and limit the amount of time you can spend in physical therapy, while also limiting your ability to work at your job or to enjoy life.

Mental Anguish

Another component of a pain and suffering settlement will involve any mental trauma you are having. Some people may have nightmares or an inability to sleep after a serious car accident. This could lead to depression. It also could inhibit your ability to heal and recover from the physical injuries.

It is possible that the victim in a car accident may develop a fear of being in a car or may begin having panic attacks related to the crash. These emotional issues can greatly inhibit the victim’s quality of life.

Future Suffering

Additionally, the judgment amount should take into account the possibility of pain that lingers. If you suffered a severe back injury in the crash that a doctor estimates will cause you pain for at least the next 12 months, this should greatly increase your pain and suffering award.

A victim in a car crash who suffers a concussion or a traumatic brain injury may never recover fully.  For this type of debilitating injury, you and your attorney may request a far greater settlement amount than average.

How Is Pain and Suffering Calculated?

When you are wondering, can you sue for pain and suffering after a car accident for a certain amount of money, it may help to understand how insurance companies or juries try to calculate the amount to offer or award. No formula exists for calculating this payment. It is a subjective determination of how much money will fairly compensate you for the pain you have now and will have going forward.

Some of the ways your attorney may attempt to show that you deserve an amount for pain and suffering above what the insurance company is offering include:

  • Doctor’s estimate of your level of pain from the accident
  • Doctor’s projection of your level of pain into the future
  • Types and strengths of medications required to manage your pain
  • Psychiatric evaluation of any mental trauma the accident caused for you
  • Length of recovery from your initial injuries
  • Personal notes that describe your level of pain and mental trauma during the recovery phase
  • List of limitations you have in your daily life
  • Interviews with family members, friends, and coworkers about your physical and mental trauma.

Using a Multiplier Factor Based on Medical Bills

A jury sometimes will use a multiplier of three to come up with an award for pain and suffering. For example, if you have $25,000 in medical bills related to the accident, the jury may award three times that amount ($75,000) for a judgment related to pain and suffering.

However, there is no state law or insurance industry standard that forces insurers and victims to stick to a three-times multiplier number. Some victims in car accidents will receive a pain and suffering award that is less than the three-times multiplier. Others may receive more than three times the amount of medical bills.

Let Us Defend Your Right to Receive a Fair Settlement

As a trustworthy car accident lawyer, the team at Strong Law is ready to work as hard as we can on your behalf. We will help you understand the potential damages you could win in your personal injury claim.

We understand how difficult it is to deal with the aftermath of an injury car accident. We also understand your frustration when you did not do anything wrong, yet another driver’s mistake left you with injuries and in pain. We will take over many of the tasks of dealing with your personal injury claim, leaving you more time to heal. Please call our team at 2206-741-1053 for a free consultation.