Personal Injury Attorney In California

Recovering Damages for Pain and Suffering in California Car Accident Cases

Posted on September 13, 2023

It’s common for car accident victims to suffer broken bones, cuts, bruises, and traumatic brain injuries. Injury victims shouldn’t be left dealing with medical bills as a result of an at-fault driver.

Aside from the physical injuries, victims can also suffer emotional and psychological damages that traumatize them emotionally. Those damages should be considered when trying to recover compensation.

Pain and suffering damages are meant to help injury victims recover compensation for side effects caused by injuries in a car crash. This would give you additional support, though it’s difficult to navigate pain and suffering claims on your own.

Instead, you should contact a car accident lawyer in Oxnard, CA, to get the representation you need for these types of personal injury cases. To receive pain and suffering damages, you need more than medical records to show the extent to which physical injuries have changed your life. 

It’s never easy to fight for your own compensation after enduring a painful injury, especially one that has left you afraid, feeling alone, and anxious. Learning more about pain and suffering and what it means in your accident case can help you determine the next steps to take.  

Photo of a Damaged Car

Why Pain and Suffering Matter to California Accident Victims

Physical pain from your injuries can continue for months. It can also become chronic, lasting your entire lifetime. The emotional trauma you have experienced in your car accident could make you afraid of driving.

Severe injuries may ruin your quality of life, leaving you suffering pain on a constant basis or fighting anxiety and depression. Another person’s negligent acts could rob you of your livelihood and joy. This type of mental suffering can be agonizing.

If you have been in an auto accident, you will want to work with a personal injury lawyer so they can help calculate your pain and suffering damages. California personal injury lawsuits that involve calculating pain and suffering compensation can be very complex. Personal injury victims should never try to fight their case alone to ensure they get maximum pain and suffering compensation.

How Much Can You Get for Pain and Suffering from a Car Accident in California?

Pain and suffering damages are among the non-economic damages you can receive in personal injury claims. Unlike economic damages, pain and suffering losses are harder to calculate. You can see an itemized list of costs from a hospital bill or lost wages from missing work. What you can’t see are the effects of emotional distress in the wake of vehicle accidents.

Non-economic damages may be harder to calculate, but they can still impact your life as much as your physical injuries. The mental anguish in the aftermath can be debilitating, especially if you were left with permanent disfigurement as a result of the crash.

California personal injury cases that have left victims with pain and suffering damages need the representation of a skilled personal injury lawyer to help calculate fair financial compensation.

It’s difficult to itemize intense emotional trauma, mental anguish, or the intensity of physical pain. There are factors that are considered when it comes to calculating the settlement amount. These may include:

  • Suffered pain during the accident and recovery
  • Expected chronic pain in the future
  • Emotional trauma or emotional distress during the accident and recovery
  • Expectation of coping with emotional trauma for years
  • Costs of mental health therapy and medications for physical and emotional pain in the present and future
  • Damages for loss of enjoyment of life or loss of consortium

The amount of a pain and suffering award depends on how much your life has been changed by the effects of a serious injury. You may have been left permanently disabled and no longer be able to participate in the activities you once enjoyed. Physical consequences also cause pain and suffering on much deeper levels. 

Under California law, injury victims can request pain and suffering compensation. There is no fixed standard for determining the amount of pain and suffering damages. However, the laws do have a few stipulations.

For example, pain and suffering damages in car accidents are restricted in certain circumstances, such as for drivers charged with DUI in a crash or motorists without car insurance. Those who crashed while committing a felony or attempting to escape from one cannot seek pain and suffering damages.

Otherwise, if you are an injury victim in a California car wreck, there is no cap on the amount you can get for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering like there is with medical malpractice claims.

How Much Is the Average Car Accident Injury Settlement in California?

Determining the average car accident settlement from an insurance company is not that simple. There are many factors that can affect this amount. When making pain and suffering claims, you will need to prove the extent of your emotional distress and physical injuries.

Pain and suffering awards can vary greatly depending on what you can demonstrate. For most personal injury claims, the losses are subjective and you will need objective evidence.

This could include X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs along with notes from doctors and therapists. Medical records and medical expenses can also show the extent of your treatments for your physical injury. In a personal injury case involving pain and suffering, photos or videos that show the before and after of an injury victim’s life can be very compelling.

Testimony from family, friends, coworkers, and witnesses may also be able to paint the full picture of your pain and suffering. A lawyer working on your case can call in expert witnesses to show the level of your pain and suffering.

Pain and suffering is often calculated by a multiplier method using the evidence at hand. This multiplier involves adding economic damages and non-economic damages in the personal injury case.

You may have medical bills, property damage, and other items with specific dollar amounts assigned to them. Pain and suffering damages would involve multiplying the economic damages by a number.

With the pain and suffering multiplier, the number is usually between 1 and 5 to represent the level of severity. As an example, an injury victim could have suffered a broken leg. While the injury may be painful, they’ll be expected to recover and will likely get a multiplier of 1 or 2, depending on the nature of the fracture.

However, in wrongful death cases or cases that involve permanent disfigurement, the multiplier may be 4 or 5. In some cases, the lawyer may recommend using the per diem method to calculate a personal injury claim. This method creates a monetary amount for the daily pain and suffering of the injury victim.

In this instance, a specific dollar amount would be assigned for every day the injury victim experiences pain and suffering as a result of the car accident. The number for a pain and suffering claim is usually calculated by using the victim’s daily earnings prior to the accident.

Photo of an Injured Man

Additional Symptoms that Could Earn Pain and Suffering Compensation

In personal injury law, the emotional hardships that result from your physical injury can be compensated. However, you must thoroughly document them and show the proof to your attorney for them to help you get proper compensation.

Serious injuries can often cause fear or insomnia. They can also cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), giving you flashbacks to the accident. You may suffer anxiety or depression, especially if you lost a limb or suffered another type of injury that will change your life forever.

Physical pain and emotional distress often go hand in hand. Even worse, losing someone you love and depended on to a negligent driver can feel devastating. Under California law, families can seek benefits on behalf of their loved one through a wrongful death claim with compensation for the decedent’s pain and suffering and the mental anguish they experienced before passing away.  

California civil code attempts to bring some sense of fairness to those who are suffering the loss of a loved one by ensuring their claim doesn’t die with them. Instead, the claims survive and can be pursued by family. While no dollar amount could ever replace your loved one, the California civil code on this matter ensures you get some justice and peace after losing someone you care about.

Get Help Recovering Pain and Suffering Damages in Personal Injury Lawsuits

Lost earning capacity and future medical expenses are easier to estimate in an accident claim. Those who are physically injured deserve to recover the non-economic losses they incurred through the intentional acts or careless actions of another person.

If you agonize every day since the accident about your pain and suffering, you should speak with an Oxnard personal injury lawyer immediately. The King Law Firm has extensive experience representing injury victims enduring pain and suffering. Our team of caring and diligent attorneys is committed to helping fight for your legal rights and serving justice to get you the compensation you deserve.

Calculating non-economic damages is always tricky because pain is something that can’t be seen. With a free case consultation, you’ll be able to learn more about how pain and suffering is calculated after a crash and get someone with experience to assign a fair monetary value for your damages. While medical malpractice cases have a cap on these types of damages, car accidents do not, and you may inadvertently settle for less than you deserve without the right representation. 

Category: Car Accident