After sustaining an injury in a motor vehicle collision, you could be in great pain—financial, physical, and otherwise. However, if someone else caused the collision, you could recover damages for your losses, including pain and suffering damages. The amount of money you will get for pain and suffering damages varies based on the circumstances of your case and the extent of your injuries.
A knowledgeable Long Island car accident attorney can help calculate the value of all your damages. Attorneys have the skills and knowledge needed to determine the value of damages that aren’t associated with an exact monetary value, such as pain and suffering.
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What Are Pain and Suffering Damages?
In the legal world, pain and suffering are damages that compensate the injured party for the pain they experienced. These damages are separate from financial losses. There are two main types of pain and suffering: physical pain and suffering and mental pain and suffering.
Physical Pain and Suffering
Physical pain and suffering encompass the physical pain someone experiences from their injuries. Not only do these damages compensate the injured person for the pain, discomfort, or inconvenience their injuries have caused them in the past, but also in the future.
Mental Pain and Suffering
These damages compensate the injured person for the mental impact their injuries caused.
Emotional distress can cause someone to experience:
- Sleep issues
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Issues like these can impact a person’s ability to enjoy their life. Similar to physical pain and suffering, victims can recover damages for mental pain and suffering they might experience in the future, as well as what they have experienced up to date.
Other Types of Damages You Could Recover After a Motor Vehicle Collision
If you sustained an injury in a motor vehicle collision, there are other types of damages besides pain and suffering you could recover. These damages relate more to the monetary losses you might have incurred because of your injuries. The amount of compensation you could receive for these damages usually depends on how solid your case is and the extent of your injuries.
If your injuries are expected to impact you for the rest of your life, you are likely to recover more compensation than if they only impact you for a short amount of time. If the defense believes you have a strong case against them, they might be more motivated to settle the case.
The types of damages a person can recover depend on the losses they incur—but no one should have to suffer the financial repercussions of someone else’s negligence.
Damages vary from case to case, but common examples of damages you could recover after an auto collision injury include:
- Medical bills: These include any medical costs you had to pay out of pocket, such as emergency room fees, doctor visits, hospital stays, surgeries, diagnostic tests, and medications. These may also include the cost of rehabilitative treatments, such as physical or occupational therapy.
- Future medical bills: If your injuries require medical care into the future, you could include the projected costs of future medical bills in your damages. An attorney can help you to determine the estimated costs of your future medical bills.
- Lost income: If you missed work while recovering from the collision, you could recover compensation for your lost income. Whether you were out of work for just a few days or several weeks or months, you can include that loss in your damages.
- Diminished earning capacity: If you can no longer work in the same capacity, you could recover compensation for your projected lost income. An attorney can help you to calculate the value of your future lost income and benefits.
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How an Attorney Can Help After Getting in a Motor Vehicle Collision
Many people don’t realize the importance of hiring an attorney after sustaining injuries in a motor vehicle collision. While it is possible to represent yourself, law firms strongly recommend hiring an attorney to ensure that you recover the maximum amount of compensation for your losses.
Other ways an attorney can help include:
- Speaking to the insurance companies on your behalf: If you plan to file a claim with the liable party’s insurance company, having an attorney can be tremendously helpful. An attorney can ensure that you do not accept a low offer from the insurance company. By calculating the value of your case, they know how much compensation you deserve to recover.
- Handling all legal matters: The last thing you probably want to do while recovering from an auto collision is deal with the legal and insurance claim issues that follow. An attorney can take care of all that for you, so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.
- Developing a strong case against the liable party: By developing a solid case strategy, the insurance company or opposing attorneys may be more likely to agree to a fair settlement because they understand their side was guilty.
- Negotiating with the insurance company for a fair settlement: Using proven negotiation techniques, an attorney can help you recover the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries and pain and suffering.
- Representing you in court if necessary: If your case does not settle, experienced litigators know how to present your evidence before a judge and jury. It’s very difficult to manage a court case without an attorney by your side.
Many personal injury attorneys offer free consultations to discuss the circumstances of your case. During a consultation, you can get your questions answered and learn more about your legal options for recovering compensation.
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Steps to Take After Getting in a Collision
After getting in a collision, there are steps you can take to help prove that you should recover compensation.
These steps can also assist your attorney as they build a case against the liable party.
- Call for emergency services: Call the police and tell them the location of the collision. If you or anyone involved sustained an injury, request emergency medical services. Once the police arrive, give them a statement of what happened. Stay on the scene until the police tell you that you are free to go.
- Seek medical attention: When emergency medical services arrive, ask them to check you. Even if you feel as though your injuries are minor, have them perform a physical exam. Your adrenaline from the accident might mask any pain you feel. Their official documentation could help prove the extent of your injuries in the future.
- Obtain contact information: Get contact information for everyone involved in the accident, including their name, phone number, insurance policy information, driver’s license number, and license plate number. This information enables your attorney to contact the liable party or parties as needed.
- Take photos of the scene: Photographic evidence is often helpful, especially in cases involving motor vehicle collisions. Take pictures of anything relevant to the accident, such as vehicle damage and injuries.
- Identify witnesses: Look for anyone who might have witnessed the accident. If your case goes to court, eyewitness statements can help corroborate what happened. Get their contact information and ask if they are comfortable giving a statement to the police.
- Contact a personal injury attorney: A personal injury attorney can help you navigate the steps it takes to recover compensation. They can guide you through the entire legal process and take a great deal of burden off your back by dealing directly with the insurance companies.
Once you start working with an attorney, they can inform you of additional steps to help you recover the maximum compensation.
You Have a Limited Time to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If the case does not settle and you have to file a lawsuit against the liable party, you have a limited amount of time. New York courts generally give you three years from the accident date to file a personal injury lawsuit, although some circumstances may greatly reduce the time you have to act.
While this may sound like a long time, there are many steps your attorney will need to take before they can file, such as:
- Investigating the collision by collecting the police report and reviewing what occurred
- Identifying the liable party and gathering evidence to prove they were liable for the collision
- Building a solid case strategy to prove why you deserve the compensation you seek
- Negotiating with the insurance company to reach a fair settlement
Therefore, it is a good idea to contact a personal injury attorney immediately after the accident. By giving your pain and suffering attorney ample time to build a solid case and negotiate with the liable party’s insurer, they can develop the best case strategy possible.
Common Causes of Motor Vehicle Collisions
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shares nationwide data about the most common causes of motor vehicle collisions. While there are many causes of collisions, some occur far more often than others.
According to the NHTSA, the most common causes of motor vehicle collisions include:
- Distracted driving: If a driver does not pay full attention to the road, accidents can happen. Distracted driving includes talking on the phone, texting, using a navigation system, eating, tending to children or pets, or playing music. If someone causes a collision while distracted, they should be liable for the accident.
- Aggressive driving: When people hurry or get angry at other drivers on the road, they sometimes drive aggressively. Aggressive driving includes swerving in and out of traffic or tailgating other vehicles. The aggressive driver makes a combination of moving traffic offenses that can endanger themselves and other vehicles around them. If someone is driving aggressively and causes a collision, they should be liable.
- Speeding: Many drivers exceed the speed limit on a daily basis. Speeding—especially excessive speeding—lowers both stopping distance and reaction time. If someone is speeding and causes a collision, they should be liable.
- Drunk driving: A leading cause of accidents across the United States is drunk driving. When drivers get behind the wheel after drinking too much, their impairments often cause devastating accidents. Drunk driving can lower a driver’s reaction time and ability to stay in their own lane. They also have a higher risk of falling asleep behind the wheel. There are severe penalties in New York for people who drive while intoxicated.
- Bad weather conditions: Bad weather such as rain, sleet, or snow can make the roads slippery and lower visibility. Driving carefully when roads are slick due to bad weather conditions is critical.
- Bad road conditions: Sometimes, the city or municipality in charge of certain roads does not maintain them properly. Poorly maintained roads—including roads with potholes, uneven lanes, or poor road design—can cause accidents. If a collision occurs for any of these reasons, the injured person could sue the city or municipality for their injuries.
An attorney can determine liability for your accident based on how the collision occurred. If another driver caused the accident, you could hold them liable. If the accident occurred because of defective parts, you could hold the parts manufacturer liable. Bad road conditions are often the fault of a municipality—so if bad road conditions caused the accident, you could hold the municipality liable.
Find out How Much You Will Get for Pain and Suffering After an Auto Collision
Contact a car accident attorney for more information about how much you will get for pain and suffering after an auto collision. An attorney can review the circumstances of your case and your injuries to determine the amount of compensation you deserve to recover. Without consulting an attorney, it is difficult to determine the value of your case.
Many attorneys offer free case reviews to their potential clients. During the consultation, have your questions ready so you can get the answers you need. We’re here to help you recover pain and suffering damages, medical expenses, lost income, and more.