A motorcycle accident can cause catastrophic injuries that leave you with chronic pain, scarring, disfigurement, and permanent physical limitations. If you get hurt in a motorcycle accident due to someone else’s bad behavior, you can file a personal injury claim to recover compensation for your losses. One key category of losses you can recover compensation for includes pain and suffering.
Pain and suffering compensation can provide financial recovery for the physical and emotional harm you’ve endured due to your injuries and related losses.
Calculating the value of a pain and suffering claim requires a subjective evaluation of the unique elements of each case, but common factors that insurance companies and juries consider include the severity of your injuries, how your injuries affect your quality of life, and who is liable for the motorcycle accident. Reach out to a Miami motorcycle accident lawyer.
Certain types of evidence, such as strong medical evidence, can also significantly increase the value of your financial recovery after an accident that leaves you in pain and suffering.
What Does Pain and Suffering Mean?
“Pain and suffering” is a legal concept describing the physical and emotional distress an accident victim experiences due to their preventable injuries. This includes physical pain from accident injuries and subsequent medical treatments, such as surgeries.
It also includes emotional trauma and distress, including anxiety, depression, or PTSD from an injury accident. Finally, pain and suffering can refer to a general decrease in enjoyment or quality of life due to physical disabilities that interfere with daily tasks or permanent disfigurements that interfere with interpersonal relationships.
Types of Injuries That Can Cause Suffering After a Motorcycle Accident
Motorcycle accident injuries that might support a claim for pain and suffering compensation include:
- Broken bones
- Severe lacerations or abrasions
- Degloving injuries
- Nerve damage
- Soft tissue injuries
- Herniated spinal discs
- Internal organ injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head and facial injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Amputation or dismemberment
- Cognitive injuries, such as PTSD or new phobias
Physical vs. Emotional Pain
Physical pain and suffering refer to the bodily discomfort you experience due to your injuries and subsequent medical treatments. Compensation for physical pain often includes money for things like chronic pain, limited mobility, and neuropathic pain.
On the other hand, emotional pain and suffering compensation includes money for invisible conditions like anxiety, depression, insomnia, mental trauma, and loss of enjoyment or quality of life.
Factors That Could Affect Your Pain and Suffering Claim
Lawyers, insurance adjusters, and other investigators consider a variety of factors when determining the value of a pain and suffering award.
Examples of these factors include:
- The type and severity of your injuries. The kinds of injuries you sustain will significantly affect the amount of compensation available for your pain and suffering. While you might receive only token pain and suffering compensation for minor injuries, the amount of compensation can increase dramatically if you have severe or life-altering injuries or injuries resulting in permanent disfigurement or scarring.
- The nature and duration of your medical treatment. The types of medical treatments you need for your injuries might also affect your pain and suffering compensation. For example, you might recover more compensation if your treatment includes surgeries with long recovery periods or if you undergo pain management therapy.
- The effects on your quality of life. You could increase your pain and suffering compensation if you can demonstrate how your physical and emotional pain have affected your life, including your overall health, comfort, and happiness.
- Whether you have any pre-existing injuries. If the motorcycle accident aggravated prior injuries, an insurance company or jury might award less pain and suffering compensation because it’s much harder to differentiate pain and suffering from newer injuries vs. pre-existing injuries.
- Inability to work, perform daily tasks, or participate in activities you previously enjoyed. If your injuries or resulting pain and suffering prevent you from working, performing everyday tasks, or partaking in activities you enjoyed before the accident, you might have a claim for pain and suffering due to diminished quality of life.
- Whether you share any fault for the motorcycle accident. If the other side accuses you of contributing to the accident, the insurance companies might use their evidence against you to reduce the amount of money you can get from a settlement, including compensation for pain and suffering. Under Florida law, any percentage of fault you might have for a motorcycle accident can reduce the amount of compensation available to you.
- The policy limits of any applicable insurance coverage. After a motorcycle accident, you could seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s liability insurance or your own insurance provider, depending on the specifics of your policy. However, the financial recovery you get from an insurance policy cannot exceed the coverage limits of that policy. As a result, you might get less pain and suffering compensation than you deserve if the total value of your losses exceeds the applicable policy limits.
Other factors that might influence the amount of compensation you recover include:
- Consistency in your testimony. You can help your claim for pain and suffering compensation by providing consistent testimony about the physical pain, disabilities, and emotional suffering you experience. For example, you wouldn’t want to tell your doctor you have pain in your right shoulder and then say to the insurance company that your left shoulder hurts. One of the best ways to ensure consistency in your testimony is to document your recovery in a “pain journal” and refer back to your entries as necessary.
- Credibility. The consistency of your testimony and other personal factors could affect your credibility in the eyes of an insurance adjuster, judge, or jury. If an adjuster or jury doesn’t find you credible, they might minimize or deny your compensation for pain and suffering.
- Likeability. Unfortunately, human nature also makes likeability a potential factor in your compensation claim for pain and suffering. Insurance adjusters and juries might feel more inclined to award a motorcycle accident victim more compensation for pain and suffering if they seem likable since people naturally want to help those they like or connect with. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to remain polite and respectful at all times when dealing with third parties in your motorcycle accident claim.
Evidence of Pain and Suffering
You might rely on various types of evidence to prove the nature of the pain and suffering you endure after a motorcycle accident.
Motorcycle accident injury lawyers frequently use the following types of evidence to prove pain and suffering claims:
- Photos of visible injuries you suffered
- Medical records from your treatment, including diagnostic test results and imaging scans
- Expert medical testimony from your treating provider or other medical or vocational experts
- Testimony from family members, friends, neighbors, and co-workers about the effects your injuries have had on your day-to-day life
- Your own testimony regarding the pain and suffering you’ve endured
- Any diaries or journals you’ve kept during your recovery that discuss the physical or emotional pain and suffering you have experienced since the motorcycle accident
A Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Maximize Your Financial Recovery for Pain and Suffering
Insurance companies often negotiate hard to minimize the compensation you receive for your pain and suffering. After all, it’s much easier to cast doubt on subjective losses like pain and suffering than it is to deny compensation for medical costs and other hard losses. Fortunately, an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can help you pursue a fair financial recovery for your pain and suffering.
An experienced lawyer will know what pain and suffering awards juries issued in similar motorcycle accident cases, which they can use as a basis to calculate a reasonable demand for your claim. They will also know what evidence you need to bolster your claim for pain and suffering compensation. Finally, your lawyer can aggressively advocate for you at the negotiating table or in court to fight for maximum compensation on your behalf.
While you focus on your physical and emotional recovery, you can turn to your motorcycle accident lawyer for help with every aspect of your legal case, including:
- Investigating the motorcycle accident to secure evidence of the other driver’s or party’s liability for the crash and your injuries
- Reviewing the evidence and working with expert witnesses as necessary to identify liable parties and develop a compelling case strategy
- Documenting your injuries and losses to support your claim for pain and suffering compensation
- Drafting and filing claim paperwork on your behalf to begin pursuing your settlement
- Taking your case to court and representing you at trial, if necessary, to fight for your recovery
Common Challenges in Calculating Compensation for Pain and Suffering
Unlike medical bills, motorcycle repair costs, or lost income, subjective losses like pain and suffering don’t come with receipts, invoices, or other financial records to help in calculating compensation awards. Instead, determining what compensation you should recover for pain and suffering from motorcycle accident injuries requires subjective analysis.
Although you might think to rely on other people’s experiences to evaluate the effects of your pain and suffering, you should remember that everyone perceives and copes with pain differently. What might seem like minor pain to one person could be debilitating to someone else. An attorney can help you collect and present solid evidence, such as medical records and pain journal entries, to support your claim for pain and suffering compensation after a motorcycle wreck.
Maximizing Compensation for Pain and Suffering After a Motorcycle Accident
You can take certain steps after a motorcycle accident to protect your rights and maximize the compensation you can get for your pain and suffering.
What Steps Should You Take After a Motorcycle Accident?
If you get hurt or experience pain and suffering after a motorcycle accident:
- Seek prompt medical attention to have a medical professional document your injuries.
- Follow your doctor’s treatment plan and instructions. If you put off treatment, it might undermine the credibility of your pain and suffering claim.
- Keep copies of your medical records and other relevant case documents.
- Start a diary or journal to document your recovery following the accident, describing the physical pain and emotional troubles you experience in your own words.
- Avoid posting updates on social media or tagging yourself in photos and videos until after you settle your claim. Insurance companies often use the information they obtain from social media sites to argue against pain and suffering claims.
- Contact a motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your legal options for recovering pain and suffering compensation. The sooner you reach out to an experienced attorney for help, the more they can do on your behalf—and the easier your recovery process will be.
The Motorcycle Accident Claims Process
Recovering compensation for pain and suffering in a motorcycle accident claim begins with investigating the facts and circumstances of the accident to uncover evidence of another party’s liability. At this stage, your attorney might also gather evidence to demonstrate your pain and suffering, such as medical records and testimony from doctors, experts, and acquaintances. Reach out to a Miami personal injury lawyer.
Next, your lawyer can work on preparing a persuasive claim to argue for your right to pain and suffering compensation. Once they file the paperwork to initiate your claim, your lawyer can proceed with negotiating a settlement that includes financial compensation for your pain and suffering.
Suppose the insurance company doesn’t agree to a fair settlement. In that case, your attorney might recommend filing a lawsuit and taking your case to trial, where they can advocate for your right to receive compensation for your pain and suffering. You can get a better idea of what to expect from the legal system and your unique pain and suffering claim by speaking to a knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer.