Am I entitled to pain and suffering after my car accident?

Have you recently been in a car accident? Did you sustain injury? If so, you may be entitled to compensation. The amount of compensation depends on your insurance coverage and the extent of your damages and injuries.  The legal term for this is compensatory damages which is further broken down into two categories. The first category has to do with specific financial loss due to medical bills, lost wages and property loss. The second has more to do with the impact the accident had on the person such as “pain and suffering” and emotional stress. Pain and suffering refers to the physical injury sustained in the accident and the emotional impact that injury has on the person. If you are involved in a car accident that left you injured and you were not at fault then yes, you may be entitled to compensatory damages including pain and suffering.

How much you are entitled to may depend on the circumstances surrounding the accident and the damages that occurred as a result. The following questions will help shed some light on what shapes compensation.

What kind of insurance policy do you have? When you call your insurance company after an accident, the first thing they will do is pull up your policy for review. There are many different variations in policies and very few companies cover 100% of the damages caused by a car accident.

Who is at fault? Liability can be a tricky thing. Very few accidents are due to one person’s actions. Very often, multiple people contributed to the situation. Your insurance company will likely ask you to explain what happened and will request the police report. In the aftermath, it may come down to eye witness accounts to determine fault. It is always advised to take photos of the scene, write down the names and contact information for any eye witnesses and write down any details of the accident when they are fresh in your mind.

Fault or No-fault State? Your state also has laws to determine fault in accidents. If the accident occurred in a “no-fault state”, your insurance company is responsible to pay for your injuries (i.e., lost wages and medical bills) regardless of who was at fault. There are a handful of no-fault states and their laws vary. At fault states, which includes the majority of the states, require the individual, who caused the accident, or the individual’s insurance company, to pay for all damages to the other driver. This may include pain and suffering.

If you were involved in an accident and you have sustained injuries as a result, you should seek the help of a personal injury attorney. Dealing with insurance companies can be frustrating and confusing. The legal terminology is overwhelming and intimidating. You have already been through a traumatic ordeal that has left you with physical challenges that likely require therapy and time to heal. You also may be feeling the emotional toll of this experience. Allow yourself the best chance to recovery and compensation by contacting the most experienced Charlottesville, VA auto accident lawyers today.



Thank you to our friends and contributors at MartinWren, P.C. for their insight into personal injury and car accidents.