Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering After a Car Accident?
You can sue for pain and suffering after a car accident in New York under many circumstances.
New York is a no-fault insurance state, so people injured in car crashes are covered for medical bills and expenses up to the amount of their policies, without having to bring a lawsuit or prove who was at fault. However, you can still pursue a legal settlement for your losses that includes compensation for pain and suffering, as long as you meet certain legal criteria determined by state insurance law. To recover money for pain and suffering after a car crash, you must prove that your injuries are “serious.” The car accident attorneys that for letter law can help you.
According to New York law, a serious injury means a personal injury which results in:
- significant disfigurement
- a fracture
- loss of a fetus
- permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system
- permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member
- significant limitation of use of a body function or system; or
- a medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than ninety days during the one hundred eighty days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.
New York personal injury laws are complicated, and making mistakes can be costly as insurance companies are out for profit and want to pay out as little as possible. There are deadlines to file for no-fault and to file other documents. If you or a loved one has been in a car crash and has suffered major damage or serious injuries, or a fatality has occurred, it can help to have an experienced attorney on your side to fight for justice and a fair settlement that covers pain and suffering.
For nearly 40 years, the car accident lawyers at Feroleto Law have been helping car crash victims get the benefits they deserve. Insurance companies are known for using aggressive tactics to deny or delay payment. You need an equally competent and aggressive auto accident lawyer to stand up to them on your behalf.
We offer a free consultation, and there are no fees to you unless and until we win or settle your case. Call Feroleto Law at (716) 854-0700 today for a free evaluation of your Buffalo car accident claim.
How Much do You Get for Pain and Suffering?
An award for pain and suffering covers a range of injuries that includes both the physical pain and the mental anguish that results from a personal injury. This may include suffering from fright and trauma and other mental and emotional problems that can persist into the future, such as anxiety and depression, nervousness and shock. It may also cover the humiliation, indignity, and embarrassment that may result from your injuries.
In a successful lawsuit, you may also be entitled to compensation for your economic or monetary costs, such as for damaged property, additional lost wages from being unable to work, and medical and rehabilitation bills. These are damages that have a specific dollar value, and you will be compensated based on that amount.
Awards for pain and suffering awards are for damages that have no set dollar value and are therefore more difficult to calculate. The car accident attorneys at Feroleto Law have extensive experience in maximizing your recovery for pain and suffering. These awards may far exceed the amounts for economic damages and may range into the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.
The amount you receive depends on the individual circumstances of your case. There is no specific standard to calculate pain and suffering, but factors that will be considered in making a determination include:
- The severity, extent, and permanence of your injuries
- Whether you will need continuing care in the future
- Your age, family responsibilities, and earning capacity
- The effect on your enjoyment of life, social life, marital relationships, hobbies, etc.
- Whether you have suffered disfigurement, such as scarring or a loss of a limb
- Whether the pain interferes with your ability to work and earn money
- Limitations in your ability to perform everyday tasks, like getting dressed, doing housework, cooking, cleaning and sleeping
- Embarrassment and indignity you suffered from your injuries
- Whether you are suffering mental anguish or emotional problems, and whether they are likely to continue into the future.
In New York, there are no “caps” or limits on what you can be awarded for pain and suffering, so you can receive whatever amount is considered to be fair compensation. Since everyone’s pain and suffering is different and insurance companies and opposing attorneys will try to downplay the extent of yours, there are things you can do to help. You should keep a record of your pain and the emotional distress you are undergoing, take photos and videos of your injuries, and keep a daily journal to record information on:
- The frequency, location, and severity of your pain
- Negative thoughts and emotions and mental anguish
- Your concerns about your health, your family, and your finances
- Effects on your work, family, social life, and relationships
- Embarrassment and indignity you suffered from being disabled or disfigured
- Effects on your sleep and general health.
The more categories of pain and suffering you are experiencing and the more permanent and serious your symptoms are, the more your case may be worth. The car accident attorneys at Feroleto Law will go beyond the medical records and often reach out to doctors and ask them to discuss whether you will have future pain, suffering or residual difficulties. This is so we can show the insurance company the full value of your pain and suffering in the future. Evidence such as this can greatly increase the value of your pain and suffering award.
How Our Attorneys Can Help You Get an Award for Pain and Suffering From a Car Accident
Since there are no fixed dollar amounts for pain and suffering, the skill of your attorney is particularly important. Our Feroleto car accident lawyers know how to build your case to prove another party was at fault and is liable for your damages, find witnesses for expert testimony, and negotiate with insurance companies for maximum compensation. Most cases are settled out of court, but we are fully prepared to take your case to trial if necessary.
We can help by:
- Evaluating the pain and suffering and other damages you have suffered because of the accident and determining what your case should be worth
- Preparing a “demand letter” that includes the compensation you are seeking from the responsible party or their insurance company
- Gathering evidence, such as videos from traffic cameras
- Interviewing witnesses, police and first responders
- Obtaining police and medical reports, test results, and records of your treatment
- Filing all necessary paperwork
- Consulting expert witnesses to testify as to your pain and suffering, how your life has been negatively impacted, and what you are expected to face in the future
- Getting testimony from mental health professionals about symptoms such as insomnia or anxiety
- Getting testimony from friends and relatives who knew you before and after the accident as to the effects on your life
- Handling all correspondence and negotiations with insurance companies and other attorneys
- Taking your case to court and arguing it in front of a judge or jury if necessary.
Since pain and suffering is so subjective and unique to each individual, it is essential to have as much collaborative information dealing with an insurance claims adjuster, a mediator, or a judge or jury to convince them of the need for a maximum damage award. We may ask you about witnesses such as family members, coworkers, church members or others who can talk about your condition before the car accident, what you went through after the crash, and if helpful, what your limitations are now.
Call Our Car Accident Lawyers for Help With Pain and Suffering
Getting optimum compensation for pain and suffering can be a challenge, but you can count on our Feroleto Law attorneys to aggressively fight for what you deserve. Your injury case can be difficult for you and your family. We get it. If you or a loved one has been injured or has died in a car accident, it’s important to call our lawyers as soon as possible. Under New York Civil Practice Rules section 214, there is a statute of limitations, or deadline, for filing personal injury lawsuits. Claims generally have to be filed within three years of the accident, or the courts will refuse to hear your case.
Let us start working for you immediately. To schedule your free case evaluation, call Feroleto Law at (716) 854-0700 today.