Some effects of a serious car accident are easier to deal with than others. Cuts and bruises can be treated, broken bones can be set, and cars can be repaired or replaced. It's also fairly simple to assign a monetary value to these kinds of damages.
However, the effects that are often the most devastating to victims of catastrophic car accidents are also the most difficult to treat, and the most complicated to determine rightful financial compensation. We're talking about the emotional distress many car accident victims experience even after the physical wounds have healed.
How can you make sure that you are fully compensated for these damages? We take a look at what you need to do to prove pain and suffering damages following a Kansas City car accident.
What Is Pain and Suffering Following A Car Accident?
“Pain and suffering” in the legal sense refers to the physical pain and emotional distress a victim has endured because of the negligence or willful action of another. While a physical injury—like a broken bone—can be diagnosed, treated, and billed for, the amount of physical pain and discomfort a person feels cannot be quantified in the same way.
Emotional effects, such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and insomnia take a major toll on a victim’s ability to function and yet can be difficult to prove and connect to the accident.
How to Prove Pain and Suffering Resulting From A Car Accident
In order to secure a fair settlement for your pain and suffering, you must be able to prove or demonstrate the extent of your suffering. Since you can’t just produce an MRI scan that illustrates your depression or anxiety, you'll have to look to other sources of evidence.
Some possibilities include the following:
- Physical symptoms of emotional distress. Oftentimes, severe emotional suffering causes physical symptoms, such as headaches, ulcers, high blood pressure, skin conditions, and more. Providing medical test results that reveal such physical symptoms accompanied by a physician’s testimony can go a long way towards proving your emotional distress.
- Testimony from therapists and psychologists. Many people suffering from emotional distress seek counseling and therapy to cope with depression, anxiety, nightmares, irrational fears, and other symptoms. A written statement or oral testimony from a psychiatrist who has evaluated or treated you is strong evidence of your suffering.
- Medical evidence of severity or duration of injuries. If your physical injuries were catastrophic—a loss of limb, traumatic brain injury, paralysis, or other devastating injury—or your recovery took months of hospitalization and therapy, presenting your medical records will show your injuries were severe and caused a great deal of pain.
- Graphic details of accident. Even if you have been able to recover from your physical injuries, if another person was killed or suffered gruesome injuries in the accident and you were a witness to this, you may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Photos from the scene and evidence of others’ injuries may be used as proof of your emotional suffering.
- Evidence of life changes. If your daily routine is significantly altered because of the accident—for example, you can no longer do the same work you did before due to a physical injury, or you're too fearful to drive and are therefore stuck at home—this can be presented as evidence of your suffering. Likewise, if your relationships with others have changed because of the emotional distress you feel, you can offer this as proof of suffering.
Because pain and suffering can be difficult to prove, you need a legal team on your side that has experience in gathering the kind of evidence you need to get the non-economic damages you deserve. Putting a dollar amount on pain and suffering is never easy, but our experienced car accident attorneys know how to fight for what you will need to make the best possible recovery following a devastating accident.
Have You Been Injured In A Kansas City Area Car Accident?
If you've been injured in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.