Proving Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering is one category of noneconomic damages. Others include anxiety, mental anguish, scars, shock, emotional distress, grief, humiliation, disfigurement, insomnia, loss of a limb, and loss of enjoyment of life. If you were injured in a car accident caused by someone else, you may be wondering about how to prove pain and suffering and how much your case is worth. Sharifi Firm, APC has experience handling personal injury cases. Our Los Angeles car accident lawyers work hard to try to achieve the greatest possible damages awards and settlements for clients who have experienced losses as a result of someone else's negligence behind the wheel.Proving Pain and Suffering
In California, as in other states, it is possible to recover pain and suffering damages, as well as other noneconomic damages. There is no fixed standard for the value of an accident victim's pain and suffering, and there is no cap for noneconomic damages arising out of car accidents. Insurers often look at similar cases to determine what juries awarded for pain and suffering in other similar circumstances with similar injuries. For example, if you suffer partial paralysis, the insurer may look at past jury verdicts involving partial paralysis to assess what a jury is likely to award in your case.
A plaintiff must prove their pain and suffering to the insurer and the jury. In most cases, the proof of pain and suffering lies in testimony by the plaintiff and their family members. You may need to give a deposition or get on the stand and talk about what it felt like to go through the accident, to deal with emergency care and your daily life, and to endure any pain in medical procedures that you needed to undergo due to the injuries. How you testify about your pain and suffering at a deposition can influence how an insurer evaluates your case. Similarly, your spouse or other family members may testify about what they observed in the accident or the aftermath of the accident to substantiate your claims related to pain and suffering.
When there are catastrophic injuries, expert witnesses may be retained. Some expert medical witnesses may testify on whether it is likely that you suffered as much as you claim to have suffered and whether there is an objective basis for that pain.
You need to prove damages, including pain and suffering, by a preponderance of the evidence. This means that it is more likely than not that you experienced the pain and suffering that you say that you suffered. The jury uses its judgment to decide a reasonable value for your pain and suffering, based on the common sense of its members as well as the evidence presented by your attorney.
As a type of noneconomic damages, pain and suffering can be restricted in certain situations. If you are convicted of a DUI in connection with a drunk driving accident, for example, you cannot recover noneconomic damages, including pain and suffering. Insurers are not required to indemnify you for those losses. If you are an uninsured vehicle owner, you cannot recover pain and suffering or other noneconomic damages, unless they were caused by a drunk driver. Also, if you are an uninsured driver, you cannot recover noneconomic damages like pain and suffering under any circumstances.
Each defendant can be held responsible for the total economic damages under the doctrine of joint and several liability. This is important because it means that your hospital bills and lost wages will be covered, even if one of two or three drivers responsible for an accident was uninsured or underinsured. However, each defendant is only severally liable for noneconomic damages like pain and suffering.Seek Guidance for a Damages Claim from a Los Angeles Attorney
Proving pain and suffering can be challenging after a car accident. At Sharifi Firm, APC, our experienced Los Angeles lawyers can evaluate the circumstances surrounding a motor vehicle collision. We may be able to bring a lawsuit on your behalf. Contact us at (866) 422-7222 or via our online form. We also represent victims in Temecula, Riverside, Rancho Cucamonga, Glendale, Covina, and San Bernardino.