Injury victims have the legal right to be compensated for all the losses they suffer as a result of someone else’s negligence. That’s the general guiding principle, anyway. This includes compensation for losses such as medical bills and property damage, but it also includes compensation for things like pain and suffering. The pain and suffering a person endures as a result of a car accident are very real losses. You should be fairly compensated for these intangible losses, and a South Carolina car accident lawyer at The Jeffcoat Firm is here to help.
Determining Who Was “At Fault” For the Accident
In order to determine who pays for pain and suffering, you must determine who was at fault for the accident. Insurance companies will do their own investigation of the accident to determine who was at fault. If the insurance company agrees that their client was negligent, they may accept liability for the accident. However, frequently it’s not that easy. Very often, the insurance company will say it was not their client’s fault and that they don’t think they need to pay up. If this happens, having a good attorney that can fight the insurance company is very important. If the parties cannot negotiate this issue, your attorney can even take the case to trial and let a jury determine who was at fault for causing the accident. A negligent driver often has a legal obligation to pay for all the losses that were caused by this accident. This includes fair compensation for your pain, suffering, and other intangible losses.
Splitting Liability Between Multiple Drivers
In some cases, the accident can be the fault of more than one driver. This often happens at crashes in intersections. Many drivers are approaching the intersection from many different directions at the same time, and if there is a crash, it is not always clear who had the legal right of way. Insurance companies often resolve this confusion by simply splitting the liability between the drivers. Liability does not have to be an exact fifty-fifty split. One driver could be ninety percent at fault, while the other is just ten percent at fault. Liability could even be assigned to a company that was not present at the scene of the accident. If, for example, the brakes failed on a new car, the manufacturer of that vehicle would likely be liable for the accident. Liability can be split in many different ways between many different parties. This splitting-up of legal fault can make getting compensation much harder.
What Is Covered by Pain and Suffering?
“Pain and suffering” is a broad term that covers a wide variety of losses. Some of the most common losses include:
- Physical pain
- Emotional suffering
- Missing important life events (graduations, weddings, etc.)
- The time and effort you spend going to medical appointments
- The inconvenience and aggravation of lost sleep due to pain
- Mental Anguish
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
These are just a few examples of the many intangible losses you could suffer after a car accident. The important thing is that your pain and suffering award is fair for your unique situation. For example, if you were a concert pianist who could no longer perform after losing both arms in a car accident, your pain and suffering would be great. You would not only suffer the loss of all your wages between the time of the accident and the time of your retirement, but you would also suffer serious emotional losses. You would lose the opportunity to advance in your career. The loss of music in your life would be devastating. All of these intangible losses would be subject to compensation in a personal injury claim against the negligent driver who caused the car accident.
Call Us Today to Schedule Free Case Evaluation with a South Carolina Car Accident Attorney
Our lawyers have years of experience. We have helped many accident victims get the compensation they deserve for their pain and suffering. Contact us at (803) 200-2000 for your free case evaluation. The sooner you have an experienced South Carolina accident attorney on your side, the better protected your legal rights will be.
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Pain and Suffering FAQs
How Much Am I Owed for Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering is unique to each case. It depends on the victim’s medical history, the nature of the injuries, and whether there were any unique circumstances that made the injuries more painful (such as being allergic to pain medication). Fair compensation is based on what a jury is likely to award in your case at trial. It is therefore also affected by the factors that change a jury’s opinion of your case. This includes who you are, who the defendant is, and whether either party was doing anything that will not be seen favorably by a jury (such as driving while drunk).
Do I Need a Lawyer to Collect My Pain and Suffering Compensation?
You are not required to have a lawyer in order to pursue a pain and suffering claim. However, one study showed that injury victims who have a lawyer, on average, get over 3 times more compensation than injury victims who handle their claims on their own and that’s after the attorney fee is paid. The best way to protect your legal right to compensation is to at least consult with a personal injury lawyer about your case.
What Happens If I Do Not Get a Fair Settlement Offer?
It is important to understand that the insurance company does not get the final word on what a fair settlement offer is. If the insurance company makes a lowball offer, your attorney will work to negotiate a higher offer that fairly compensates you for all your pain and suffering. If the insurance company still refuses to negotiate, your attorney can file a lawsuit against the negligent driver on your behalf and start to bring your case to trial. Often this single step is enough to get a fair settlement offer from the insurance company.