People involved in car accidents often experience physical and mental pain and suffering well after the wreck. It takes time, money, and energy to recover after a serious motor vehicle collision. Car accident victims have some legal tools at their disposal to recover financial losses. Settlements and lawsuits are two options for recouping the financial costs resulting from a car accident.
To ensure these efforts are productive, it is a wise idea to utilize the services of a car accident lawyer with a proven track record of success. While a lawyer is not required to collect non-economic damages, they are always recommended.
What is Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering is a legal term referring to certain kinds of damages caused by an injury. In some cases, pain and suffering is compensable with a financial award.
Calculating pain and suffering damages involves assessing how and why the accident occurred and the severity of the injury. These damages also focus on how the injury will affect the victim’s life.
Common examples of pain and suffering include:
- Bodily disfigurements or deformities
- Debilitating physical impairments
- Past and future emotional distress
- Disruptions to a person’s quality of life
Some Physical Injuries are Considered Non-Economic Losses
Some accidents cause catastrophic and even permanent bodily injuries that impair a person’s ability to work, be active, and go about their daily activities as they once did. These life-changing injuries are often considered non-economic losses:
- Injuries that cause complete loss of vision
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Severe burns or scarring
While bills and other expenses associated with medical treatment after an accident are often awarded, catastrophic injuries that impact a person’s lifestyle can also be compensable as well.
Damages for Pain and Suffering in Virginia
Someone injured by a third party through no fault of their own can sue for pain and suffering non-economic damages in Virginia. Virginia is one of the few states that follows contributory negligence. This means if the injured person’s actions in any way led to their injuries, they cannot recover damages. Even just one percent of fault negates the chance of recovering compensation for pain and suffering and other losses.
Generally, injured individuals have up to two years to file a personal injuryclaim in the state. If the injuries involve an infant, the statute of limitations stretches to five years. Employees hurt on the job should know that pain and suffering damages are not permissible in Workers’ Compensation claims.
What are the Benefits of Using a Lawyer to Recover Damages?
A devastating car accident can be life-changing in many ways. Even after the physical wounds have been treated, the trauma of the crash often haunts those involved for years to come. When a person suffers a permanent injury like an amputation or TBI, they may never return to the life they once knew.
Working with a lawyer helps the injured individual recover economic and non-economic losses. A lawyer can also save time and money for a victim that wants to try to navigate the legal process on their own.
There are some specific ways a lawyer can help a client seeking damages for pain and suffering:
Documentation: A skilled car accident lawyer knows what type of evidence is necessary to demonstrate pain and suffering damages and successfully prove a claim. They can reach out to health care experts, witnesses, and other essential individuals. To help their claim, injured car accident victims should keep all medical bills, prescriptions, diagnoses, and other records.
Liability: In Virginia and the few other states that have contributory negligence laws, it is especially important to prove the injured victim had nothing to do with the accident that harmed them. It takes a seasoned lawyer to prove the other party was entirely at fault.
Financial Losses: Translating physical pain and suffering and mental anguish into a dollar amount is another important job for a lawyer. Through years of experience advocating for motor vehicle accident victims, a lawyer is equipped to understand the ripple effect created by a serious car accident injury.
How Do I Choose the Right Car Accident Lawyer?
Not all lawyers are the same, and when it comes to claims involving non-economic damages, a lawyer’s skills and approach can make or break the case. When choosing a lawyer to lead a car accident claim, look for one with the following qualities:
Accessible: Some lawyers take a case and seem to disappear after signing the agreement. A good lawyer is always available to answer questions and provide case updates at every stage of the legal process.
Informative: Every client should feel they are a part of the process and confident they have the information and insight to make informed decisions about their own case.
Accomplished: Any lawyer can take a car accident case, but it makes sense to choose one with a proven rack record of success handling similar claims. Many personal injury lawyers offer free initial consultations. A consultation is an ideal time to ask about their results and strategies.
What Should I Do After a Collision?
Immediately after a car accident, anyone who is able should assess those at the scene for obvious injuries and relay that information to the 9-1-1 dispatcher. If the accident occurred in a high-traffic area, drivers should safely pull their vehicles off to the side of the road.
Explain to the police officer at the scene what happened. Stay calm and only relay the facts at hand. Never admit liability at the scene or speak with an insurance company without consulting a lawyer. Doing so can jeopardize any future claim for damages.
Be sure to collect the contact information from anyone involved in the accident and any witnesses. Take down names, phone numbers, vehicle license plates, and insurance company information.
If urgent medical care is not necessary at the scene, crash victims should see a doctor as soon as possible. Remember, not all motor vehicle collision injuries are immediately obvious. Many people involved in car accidents feel worse in the hours and days after a crash.
Additionally, schedule an appointment with a recommended car accident lawyer. After reviewing the accident details, they can help the client understand what to say when reporting the accident to the insurance company. For example, most lawyers will advise their client not to agree to a settlement until all legal avenues have been explored. A car accident lawyer can offer the best possible chance of recovering the maximum compensation for their client.
Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers Fight for Pain and Suffering Damages for Injured Clients
If you are struggling with a serious injury after a devastating motor vehicle wreck, a Virginia Beach car accident lawyer can help. At East Coast Trial Lawyers, we will take a comprehensive approach to managing your case, and we will explore every possible angle to recover the maximum amount of compensation that is available. Call us at 757-352-2237 or complete our online form for a free consultation. Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we serve clients throughout Chesapeake, Eastern Shore, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, Virginia, as well as North Carolina and nationwide.