Insurance companies do pay for pain and suffering, but it is your job—or your lawyer’s job, should you hire one—to prove that you are entitled to what you are asking for. This article will explain what pain and suffering is, and how to secure compensation for it.
Defining Pain and Suffering
The Legal Information Institute (LII) defines personal injury as any harm to a person’s “mind, body, or emotions,” as opposed to property. Personal injuries can be difficult to recover from, depending on the circumstances. Fixing a car is one thing. However, dealing with the pain of a grievous injury, upsetting memories, or of the loss of a loved one is quite another altogether.
In legal terms, losses like those listed above are described as noneconomic damages. Pain and suffering is a non-economic damage. It consists of the following:
- Physical pain. This includes short-term pain you experienced while your injuries were healing and/or long-term pain from injuries that will never fully heal.
- Emotional pain. This includes mental distress or disorders caused by your physical injuries and/or by the trauma of the accident itself.
If you are filing a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a loved one who succumbed to their accident-related injuries, you may be able to recover compensation for the pain and suffering they went through before they passed away.
In either case—whether you are filing for personal injury or wrongful death—you will need to calculate a specific dollar amount to sue for. This is where hiring a lawyer can come in handy. Your representative’s knowledge of other, similar cases can give you a better idea of what you may be able to recover.
For a free legal consultation, call (412) 661-1400
Other Types of Damages
If you are considering filing a lawsuit to recover pain and suffering damages, you likely also qualify for other kinds of damages. This may include other types of non-economic damages, such as:
- Reduced quality of life, if your pain or injuries interfere with your enjoyment of life
- Disability, if your pain or injuries are disabling
- Disfigurement, if your injuries caused substantial scarring
In addition, you could qualify for economic damages. This is compensation for direct financial harm caused by the accident or your injuries. It may include:
- Lost wages, if your pain or injuries kept you home from work
- Lost earning capacity, if your pain or injuries have derailed your career and made supporting your family more difficult
- Medical costs, if your injuries required immediate medical treatment like surgery, or long-term treatment like home nursing, pain management, or physical therapy
- Other costs, if your pain and injuries forced you to pay someone else to do your regular chores, such as childcare or housework
In wrongful death cases, you may be able to recover other types of economic or non-economic damages. Funeral costs or loss of companionship may be possible damages may be possible.
Your time to file a personal injury lawsuit is limited. According to 231 Pa. CSA §5524, you have two years from the date of the accident to begin your suit. If possible, take some time to think about if filing a lawsuit is right for you. Always keep this time limit in mind, however.
What Getting the Compensation You Deserve Will Involve
After you have filed your lawsuit, your case does not go to court right away. First, you will meet with the insurance company’s representative and lawyer to discuss a possible settlement.
Be aware that insurance companies do not always offer a fair settlement during negotiations. If you cannot persuade them to pay what you deserve, going to trial may be your only option.
A lawyer can be a distinct advantage to your lawsuit. They can handle all of the difficult legal tasks, such as filing paperwork and negotiating with the insurance company. They can also help you to understand what your options and chances are. It can be very reassuring to know that a professional is there to speak on your behalf and answer your questions.
Insurance companies do pay for pain and suffering. Consult a lawyer before you get started with negotiations, though. If you are in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania or the surrounding area, Berger and Green wants to help you with your case. Our phone number is (412) 661-1400. Call us to get a free assessment of your case.