What Is Considered Pain and Suffering in an Accident When a Semi-Truck Driver Is at Fault?
In the aftermath of an accident with a semi-truck driver, it is often difficult to know what you are entitled to as you recover. Accidents between cars and semi-trucks can end in tragedy because of the size difference between the vehicles. An accident victim may be entitled to various types of damages, including compensatory damages, punitive damages, and pain and suffering damages. To learn more about pain and suffering damages, continue reading and contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.
What Is Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering refer to damages related to physical pain and mental anguish from an accident. Pain and suffering damages are available to address the physical and emotional pain caused by a truck accident. Pain and suffering damages are different from compensatory damages. The law intends compensatory damages to restore specific losses that an accident victim sustained because of their injuries.
Examples of compensatory damages include lost wages, loss of future wages or earning capacity, and medical bills. Pain and suffering damages do not restore an injured party to their position before the accident but award an injured victim with money because they suffered after an accident.
What Is Physical Pain and Suffering?
There are two significant categories of pain and suffering. We can divide Pain and suffering damages between physical pain and suffering and emotional pain and suffering. These damages reimburse an accident victim if they suffer physical pain after an accident. Physical pain and suffering damages are different from compensatory damages, which are also available in most personal injury lawsuits.
Compensatory damages restore an accident victim by giving the victim the money to pay for the losses that they sustained because of an accident. Compensatory damages include loss of income, loss of earning capacity, repayment of medical bills, and payment for future medical treatment.
In contrast, the physical pain and suffering damages available to accident victims refer to giving accident victims money for the inconvenience of suffering from the pain related to their injuries.
What Is Mental Pain and Suffering?
Mental pain and suffering damages are non-economic damages that reimburse an accident victim for the emotional trauma they suffered after an accident. Mental pain and suffering damages are intangible damages, and these damages may be difficult to prove to an insurance company, judge, or jury. If you believe you deserve mental pain and suffering damages, speak to a semi-truck accident lawyer in your area.
Examples of mental pain and suffering damages include:
The pain and suffering calculator refers to the multiplier used to calculate the amount of money that a court should award to an accident victim for their pain and suffering.
A multiplier is a number (ranging from one to five) that is assigned to measure the level of pain and suffering that a person endured. Attorneys use the multiplier in an equation where the physical damages that a person sustained are added together and multiplied by the multiplier. To determine which multiplier is appropriate, the court will weigh various factors.
Those factors can include:
The length of the accident victim’s recovery
An analysis of the victim’s medical records and expert medical testimony about their condition
Whether the injuries are permanent and severe or minor and temporary
The extent of negligence by the at-fault driver
As the court calculates pain and suffering damages and decides how much money to award the plaintiff, the court may use the following equation to decide the final judgment amount. The typical pain and suffering equation is the total of all the compensatory damages the plaintiff suffered and multiplied the total damages by the multiplier. The multiplier will range from one to five.
The multiplier is decided by considering some of the facts listed above and by considering the seriousness of the physical and mental pain the victim suffered.
Understanding what you deserve in the way of pain and suffering damages can be challenging to prove. If you believe you are entitled to pain and suffering damages after an accident with a semi-truck driver, contact a semi-truck accident lawyer in your area.
Pain and Suffering Damages versus Punitive Damages
Pain and suffering damages differ from punitive damages. Punitive damages punish the defendant to discourage future bad behavior. Courts award them only if the defendant committed wildly outrageous conduct.
Most states cap punitive damages by statute or only award them in an amount commiserate with the defendant's assets. The goal of punitive damages is not to bankrupt a client but require payment of an amount of money that will get the defendant's attention and ensure that they will alter their behavior in the future.
In contrast, statutes do not limit pain and suffering damages in most states. Pain and suffering damages are also not limited to compensating for wildly outrageous conduct. If you think you deserve punitive damages or pain and suffering damages, contact a local semi-truck accident lawyer in your area.
How Can I Prove Pain and Suffering Damages?
To receive a damages award, the accident victim must prove their injuries. Each category of damages requires proof. To get a damages award for pain and suffering, the victim must present evidence of their harm to the insurance company, judge, or jury.
To prove physical pain and suffering damages or mental pain and suffering damages, the victim must prove that they suffered an injury in the accident. To prove that the accident victim suffered, they must present evidence of the harm. An accident victim can prove pain and suffering by submitting evidence to the court.
Providing testimony about your injuries helps prove pain and suffering. You can prove how an injury affected your life through witness testimony. An attorney can use an expert witness’s testimony to prove the damage that an injury caused to the accident victim.
You can also call your friends and family as witnesses to describe any changes you have been through because of your injuries. Your circle of friends and family may discuss their knowledge about what you have been through. Both expert witness testimony and layperson testimony can help prove both physical and mental pain and suffering.
The information found in various documents also helps accident victims prove their pain and suffering damages. Presenting medical bills and records helps prove the physical pain you suffered in a semi-truck accident.
Other documents that prove an accident victim’s damages include:
The report that police completed at the scene.
Repair estimates from body shops.
The more proof you present, the higher the likelihood of a multiplier closer to five. If the multiplier in your case is high, the amount of your judgment is higher. A semi-truck accident lawyer helps accident victims prove their case for pain and suffering damages. If you have been in an accident with a semi-truck driver, call a local attorney.
How Can an Attorney Help Prove Pain and Suffering Damages?
Having a semi-truck accident lawyer working for you is the best way to position yourself for success after an accident with a semi-truck driver. There are various benefits to having a lawyer on your side. Accident attorneys work to protect their client’s legal rights after traffic accidents. To learn more about how accident attorneys assist their clients, continue reading.
A semi-truck accident lawyer protects their client's interests against an insurance company. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses, and the company wants to protect its bottom line. The profit margin of an insurance company has a negative effect if it pays out accident claims. Therefore, insurance companies fight injury victims when they make claims for damages. Insurance companies may target unrepresented accident victims. Insurance adjusters rely on your inexperience with filing an accident claim with an insurance company.
An insurance company may employ tactics to scare you into settling quickly or disprove your injuries. Tactics that the insurance company may use include drawing out the negotiation process. An insurance adjuster may slow-go a claim to exhaust a claimant. An exhausted claimant is more likely to accept a low settlement offer. An experienced semi-truck accident lawyer knows this insurance company trick. They have experience in avoiding this tactic and can help you avoid this pitfall, too.
Accident attorneys are trained in procedural rules and discovery and know how to prepare a witness for trial. A mistake at any stage of a lawsuit may mean that a court may dismiss the entire claim. An inexperienced accident victim may not know what to expect. For many injury victims, the current lawsuit is their first experience with the legal system. There is no need to pursue compensation alone. Your focus should be on recovery from your injuries. An accident lawyer can take care of the legal side of things.
What if I Cannot Afford a Lawyer?
If the cost of legal services hinders you from pursuing compensation for your damages, attorneys use many payment structures for different legal work.
Many attorneys across the country use a contingency fee structure when representing truck accident clients. A contingency fee allows clients to defer payment for legal work until after the case settles. You may have seen an advertisement from a personal injury lawyer that says something like, "We Don't Get Paid Unless You Do," which indicates that the attorney works on a contingency fee arrangement.
A percentage of the final settlement is paid to the attorney to cover their legal fees. The percentage of the settlement the attorney will collect must be agreed upon before any legal work begins. A typical percentage split is one-third of the total settlement amount, though you want to confirm a lawyer’s fees before you begin your case.
The attorney and their firm may pay litigation costs, but the client must repay them out of the settlement amount the client receives. However, if you want to pay the litigation expenses as the case proceeds, you can do that and not have to reimburse the attorney or their firm.
Examples of litigation costs include:
Costs of copies and postage
Costs of expert witness testimony
Attorneys and clients must reduce all the terms of the contingency agreement to writing. The American Bar Association Rules of Professional Conduct require that contingency fees be in writing and signed by both the attorney and the client. If you have any questions about the terms of the contingency agreement, ask your attorney before signing the agreement.
Your attorney will happily explain the terms of the agreement and ensure you understand everything you have agreed to in the contract for a contingency fee arrangement.
Contact a Semi-Truck Accident Attorney Today
If you have suffered an injury in an accident, call an experienced accident lawyer in your area. Having an accident attorney on your side as you attempt to receive compensation for an accident that left you injured is the best way to put you in a good position to recover financially for your injuries.
An attorney has the knowledge and skill to ensure they protect your legal rights from insurance companies that do not have your best interests at heart. Relying on an attorney’s knowledge of and experience with the legal system will let you focus on your health and family and get your life back to normal as soon as possible. Contact a lawyer to take care of the legal side of your situation.
David Abels has carved a niche for himself in the personal injury law sector, dedicating a substantial part of his career since 1997 to representing victims of various accidents. With a law practice that spans over two decades, his expertise has been consistently recognized within the legal community.