California accident victims can suffer cuts and bruises, broken bones, concussions, and many other types of serious injuries. An at-fault party should have to help victims recover from every physical wound and their financial hardships.
But personal injury victims also suffer damages that aren’t always so easy to spot. The physical pain they endure and the agonizing emotional trauma they may be left with is also considered when determining the compensation they receive.
Pain and suffering damages deal with these types of side effects from a serious personal injury accident. These factors should earn suffering victims additional support in an injury claim, but victims must know how to ask for them.
Contact a California Pain and Suffering Lawyer for a Free Consultation
Anyone can add up hospital and surgery bills and submit those costs to an insurance adjuster. But many accident victims miss out on thousands of dollars in additional support because they don’t know they can also ask for pain and suffering compensation.
It’s critical that you speak with a skilled California Personal Injury Lawyer to make sure you get the most out of your injury claim. Contact Maison Law for a free case consultation. It’s a no-cost and no-risk way to find out about every benefit available to you after a serious accident.
We will go over all of your options. There’s no obligation to use our legal services. But if you do feel we can help you maximize your injury claim, you won’t need any upfront money. We don’t get paid unless we win your case.
Pain and Suffering Damages in California Personal Injury Cases
Pain and suffering compensation sounds a lot like what it is. It’s a legal term describing the ability of victims to receive financial support for the physical pain and emotional distress they suffer after an accident caused by the negligence of someone else.
This might include injuries suffered in a car accident caused by a careless driver on a California freeway. They may include getting hurt in a slip-and-fall accident caused by a puddle left on the floor by a store owner.
Victims could receive an award for the pain they’ve endured in an accident and in recovery. They could also receive additional money for the emotional trauma an accident causes. You can ask for pain and suffering compensation in many different types of personal injury cases, including dog bite cases or injuries suffered on the job.
Why Pain And Suffering Matter to California Accident Victims
You should be compensated for these factors because your pain from an injury can continue for months or lead to chronic pain over a lifetime. Your emotional shock from a car collision could make it hard for you to ever return to the driver’s seat again.
A severe injury might ruin your quality of life and leave you to deal with constant pain, depression, and anxiety. You could be unable to participate in family trips or outings with friends, all due to another person’s mistake. These losses can be devastating to a victim’s mental outlook.
A California Personal Injury Lawyer would help you calculate what your pain and suffering should earn for you and your family. Your attorney would then go to work at the negotiating table with insurance adjusters to make sure you received what was fair for what you’ve been through.
What to Do After Your California Personal Injury Accident
Before you can seek financial support for your injuries and all of your pain and mental anguish, you’ll first need to secure strong proof that an accident wasn’t your fault.
Insurance providers for the at-fault party are only interested in saving money. If they can find a reason to pin some or all of the blame on you, they will. It’s critical to have a skilled California Pain and Suffering Lawyer on your side to make sure the blame stays with the at-fault party.
Your lawyer will be fully investigating your case and securing strong witness testimony and security video footage if possible. There will also be powerful evidence found on the scene that only you will have access to.
If you are physically strong enough, make an effort to secure these details in the moments after your personal injury accident:
- Dial 911. Get an ambulance en route if you’ve been injured. Tell paramedics about every pain you have. See your own physician in the days after an accident and document all injuries. The shock of an accident can mask the pain of injuries until the next day. An X-ray might show you have a hairline fracture you weren’t aware of on the scene.
- Call for police or a California Highway Patrol response after a car accident. Tell investigators everything you remember about what happened, including if you saw the at-fault driver on a cellphone. Officers will submit a collision report and your California Car Accident Lawyer will use it as evidence later.
- After a slip-and-fall or a workplace accident, let a manager or store owner know what happened. In an accident on someone’s property, at work, or at a store, a person in a position of authority will need to create an incident report. This report is also valuable evidence.
- Get Photos. Take pictures of everything involved in your accident including the damage to cars or to yourself. If you were in a slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall incident, take photos of the obstacle that left you on the ground. This hazard could be fixed or cleaned up shortly after you leave. If you are taken to the hospital, ask someone with you or a helpful witness to get photos for you.
- Chat with witnesses. Get contact information to turn over to your California Personal Injury Lawyer. Witness testimony often provides powerful evidence in an injury claim.
- Don’t discuss fault or your injury with the at-fault party. Making statements like “I’m okay” or “my bad” will hurt your case later. Insurance companies may use these comments to try to prove you weren’t hurt that bad or that you admitted fault. Also, decline to make recorded statements when an insurance representative calls you in the days after an accident.
- Contact a California personal injury attorney. You should speak with an experienced legal professional before talking with any insurance company. Insurance companies work to limit how much you’ll receive on a settlement check. They may also downplay non-economic damages and try to pay you zero for your pain and emotional hardships. Your lawyer protects you from these tactics and makes sure you are earning the most from your accident claim.
How Much Will Pain and Suffering Damages Earn Me?
Pain and suffering damages are considered non-economic damages in personal injury claims. They are not as easy to calculate as economic damages. A night in the hospital comes with an easy-to-read bill that itemizes economic damages. A loss of income at work or the cost of replacing a car are other examples of economic damages.
It’s harder to estimate the effects and financial value of emotional trauma on a victim’s life. But always remember that non-economic damages can impact an injury victim’s life just as much as a physical injury. Pain and suffering claims factor in the very real injury pain victims endure and the mental anguish that most accidents leave behind.
With the help of a skilled California personal injury lawyer, accident victims should receive full compensation for every economic hardship. That would include medical bills and rehabilitation bills received. Victims should also use paystubs from work to show the paychecks they’ve missed while healing. That income must be reimbursed.
It’s hard to itemize that intense mental or physical pain on a bill, but insurance companies can be asked for compensation through a pain and suffering claim. There are certain factors that will be considered when the amount of an insurance settlement check is negotiated or when a judge and jury decide the amount of an injury award.
- Pain suffered in the accident and during recovery.
- Chronic pain expected to be endured in the years to come.
- Emotional trauma suffered in the accident and during recovery.
- The emotional trauma the victim is expected to have to cope with in the years to come.
- The costs and future costs of mental health therapy.
- The costs and future costs of medications for physical and emotional pain.
- Damages for a loss of enjoyment of life.
- Damages for a loss of consortium. The loss of intimacy with a partner.
The amount seen in a settlement check would hinge on how much a victim’s normal life has been changed by the effects of a serious accident and injury. This may include a permanent physical disability that robs a victim of personal freedom. Victims may also be unable to participate in family activities or the hobbies they love. These are physical consequences that will have strong emotional consequences as well.
Additional Symptoms that Could Earn Pain and Suffering Compensation
Your Pain and Suffering Lawyer would make sure every emotional hardship you endured was included in a claim for damages filed with an insurance company. Anything not filed has no chance of earning you and your family the additional support you need. It’s critical to list everything you’ve been through.
There are other side effects of serious accidents and injuries that should earn victims additional compensation:
- Feelings of frequent fear.
- Humiliation. Perhaps after a slip-and-fall accident or a workplace injury.
- Anxiety or depression over the loss of a limb.
- PTSD symptoms. Victims can flash back to the moment when they were hit by a car or injured by a piece of machinery at work. If they are unable to function normally due to these symptoms additional pain and suffering support may be necessary. These disabling flashbacks could prevent victims from returning to their jobs or driving themselves to work or to a doctor’s appointment.
- Wrongful Death pain and suffering compensation. Recently, California legislators made it possible for families seeking benefits on behalf of a loved one who was killed in a personal injury accident to seek pain and suffering support. A wrongful death claim would ask for additional funds for close family members for the anguish and suffering a victim experienced before dying.
Exceptions for California Pain and Suffering Accident Compensation
In some pain and suffering cases, the compensation awards are capped. For instance, in most medical malpractice claims, victims would only be able to earn up to $250,000 in non-economic damages.
In vehicle accidents, California’s Civil Code 3333.3 restricts people committing a felony when they were hurt from collecting pain and suffering damages:
“In any action for damages based on negligence, a person may not recover any damages if the plaintiff’s injuries were in any way proximately caused by the plaintiff’s commission of any felony, or immediate flight therefrom, and the plaintiff has been duly convicted of that felony.”
Drivers convicted of DUI may not earn non-economic damage compensation. Uninsured drivers cannot receive pain and suffering benefits under any circumstances.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do I have to file a pain and suffering claim after a California personal injury accident?
Two years. California personal injury victims have up to two years from the date of the accident to file a claim to seek economic and non-economic damages. That includes pain and suffering claims.
What kind of evidence would help prove pain and suffering claims?
Testimony from family and friends to show the changes in your lifestyle and the toll it’s taken. Testimony from mental health counselors would help demonstrate emotional trauma. Medical experts could confirm your physical pain.
Is pain and suffering compensation taxable in California?
Generally, pain and suffering or non-economic settlements and awards are not taxed. However, if a victim only suffered pain and emotional trauma but was not physically hurt, compensation could be taxed.
Contact a California Pain and Suffering Accident Lawyer
If you have been seriously injured or lost a loved one due to the negligence of another person or party in California, take action as soon as possible. Insurance companies aren’t required to inform you of every benefit available to victims. That will include the compensation you could secure for the pain and emotional distress you or a loved one have suffered.
Martin Gasparian, the founder of Maison Law, offers a free, no-obligation case consultation to all California injury victims. Mr. Gasparian works to make sure victims and their families receive full support for both the economic and non-economic hardships they suffer after an accident.