Car accidents: When are claims for pain and suffering valid?

Anyone in California who is injured due to the negligence or recklessness of another may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. In some car accidents, physical and emotional stress continues long after bodily injuries have healed. Victims might be unsure about when and how claims for pain and suffering are valid and recoverable.

Pain and suffering include scars, depression, limits on activities, aches and possible shortening of life, among other emotional damages. A personal injury claim is based on the plaintiff’s injuries and the defendant’s negligence. Medical expenses and lost income can be calculated and based upon documented proof. However, determining the monetary value of mental and psychological trauma caused by the injuries is more complicated.

The jury has no set standards to follow in determining the value of emotional trauma suffered by a car accident victim. Typically, the court looks for the level of trauma caused by physical injuries. Without physical injuries, it is less likely for damages to be awarded. However, in cases where the defendant’s conduct was outrageous and extreme, claims for anxiety, fear or shame might be included in a monetary judgment.

The bottom line is that seeking damages for pain and suffering is not at all straightforward. For that reason, many victims of car accidents in California seek the support and guidance of an experienced personal injury attorney. Legal counsel can provide answers to questions, assess the damages and document the claims for adjudication by the court. If there are grounds to seek recovery for pain and suffering, skilled legal counsel is the best person to navigate the ensuing legal proceedings.