How Do You Prove Pain and Suffering In a Car Accident?

With almost 280 million vehicles and over 227 million drivers, the United States is one of the busiest countries in the world in terms of traffic. Unfortunately, the sheer amount of cars on the road also means we have a high number of collisions, with the latest data showing there were around 12 million vehicles involved in an accident in 2018. 

When someone is involved in a serious car accident, they not only have to deal with property loss and devastating injuries, but also physical and emotional pain and suffering caused by the event. Because suffering and pain are such subjective experiences, it can be challenging to place a monetary value on them, and it can often be difficult to prove the extent of pain and suffering a victim has undergone. The experienced attorneys at Thistle Law understand the complex legal underpinnings that determine the amount of compensation you are rightfully owed, and can help prove to the courts the full extent of your pain and suffering.

How Insurance Coverage Affects Pain and Suffering Compensation

In Pennsylvania, drivers must choose limited or full tort coverage under their insurance. In New Jersey, these are known respectively as a basic or standard policy. Full tort or standard coverage gives you an unlimited right to sue the responsible party for pain and suffering, without the need to prove you have a serious injury. But if you choose a limited or basic policy, you can only sue for pain and suffering if you have a serious injury.

What Counts as a Serious Injury?

The definition of a serious injury differs from state to state. In Pennsylvania, the courts will take several factors into account, including:

  • Body function that was impaired by the injury
  • Duration of the injury
  • The extent of the injury

New Jersey is more specific than Pennsylvania and defines a serious injury as:

  • Disfigurement
  • Scarring
  • Loss of a body part
  • Permanent injury
  • Displaced fracture
  • Loss of a fetus

If you have basic or limited coverage, it is still possible to sue the at-fault driver, even if you did not suffer a serious injury as defined by the state. A qualified attorney can help you explore your options and determine if you are able to bring a pain and suffering claim. 

Proving You Suffered a Serious Injury in a Car Accident

Evidence from the car crash and appropriate medical records will be key pieces of evidence in determining the severity of your injuries before a court. While your lawyer gathers this evidence for you, you can begin keeping a pain journal to document the long-lasting effects of your injuries. 

You can keep track of things like:

  • The ways in which the injuries affected your everyday life
  • How your injuries affect your emotional and psychological health
  • Describing the level of pain and anguish you feel on a daily basis
  • The humiliation that you may have experienced after the accident

Securing the testimony of witnesses to your accident will also help you establish your case. 

When the courts attempt to place a dollar value on your pain and suffering, it can often be difficult because no two people experience pain in the same way. Medical testimony will be very important, and the courts may also consider things such as:

  • Your age
  • How your home life has been altered
  • How your employment has been affected
  • The expected duration of your injuries and general medical prognosis

How an Experienced Attorney Can Help You Prove Pain and Suffering After a Car Accident

When you’ve been injured in a serious car accident, you will not only have to prove the extent of your pain and suffering but also assign a monetary value to it. Accurately determining who is at fault, the value of the claim, and proving how seriously your life has been affected can be overwhelming, and you will need an experienced attorney to guide you through this legal process. 

The attorneys at Thistle Law have recovered millions of dollars for their clients, and have the experience and tenacity to help you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact our office for a free consultation today by calling 215-525-6824 or by filling out this form

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