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How to Determine Damages for Pain and Suffering After a Car Accident

In Illinois, damages for an injury sustained in a car accident are meant to be purely compensatory. This means your compensation should be directly proportional to the losses you sustained in the accident. In some areas this will be fairly straightforward. For example, if a car accident resulted in a significant hospital bill, it is easy to put an exact price on that. However, valuing something like pain and suffering is much more complicated. It is also incredibly important, because most car accidents result in some form of pain and suffering. The inherent difficulty in valuing pain and suffering often makes fair compensation a challenge. You need the services of an experienced car accident attorney to make sure that you can prove your pain and suffering and you can collect the fair compensation for it that you rightfully deserve.


There is No Definitive Formula


Pain and suffering can include both physical pain and mental distress. Both of these fall under the legal category of ‘general damages’ and there is no exact formula for calculating pain and suffering compensation. Car accidents can produce many different types of injuries. Certain injuries, such a broken bone in your leg, immediately register to the common person as real, verifiable, and unquestionably painful. Other injuries, such a back injury or soft tissue damage, can be more difficult to verify. It is important to note that the opposing insurance adjusters will likely try to use that ambiguity against you and they will try hard to downplay the pain caused by your injuries. Insurance adjusters are professionals, hired to work against you. A car accident attorney, with experienced dealing with insurance adjusters is critical to keep the playing field level. This is also why it is important to seek professional medical assistance for your car accident injuries. If you do not see a doctor for your pain, an insurance adjuster will use that information to claim that your pain must not have been very serious after all.


Evidence is Always the Key 


The insurance company is going to review all of the available evidence that relates to your injuries. Your car accident lawyer will comprehensively review all of the evidence and assemble it in a manner that most persuasively makes your case. Proving pain and suffering is a challenge and you need to keep all of the relevant records and documents that you have. Relevant pain and suffering evidence often includes:


  • Medical records and bills;
  • Records of prescriptions;
  • Extensive photographs of the injuries; and
  • Documentation of physical therapy or missed time at work.


Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney


It will never be easy to prove the full extent of your pain and suffering and then recover fairly valued compensation for it. But, just because your pain is hard to precisely value does not make it any less real. You are legally entitled to full and fair compensation for that pain and suffering, and you should speak to an experienced Chicago car accident attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney will make sure that your case is in order and that you are effectively pursuing all of your legal options.

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