When you are hurt in a motor vehicle accident, your initial focus will likely be on the obvious losses. This may include everything from property damage to your car to lost wages to medical bills. Yet the reality is that your life has been affected in other ways, such as by the pain and suffering that you have endured as a result of the collision.
New York is a “no-fault” state, which means that your own insurance company pays for medical treatment and other out-of-pocket losses through your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, regardless of who caused the accident. However, if you suffered a serious injury in the crash, then you can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Through this type of personal injury claim, you can recover financial compensation for your indirect losses, including pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.
The Odierno Law Firm fights for the rights of injury victims throughout Long Island. If you have suffered a serious injury in a motor vehicle accident, we will help you get compensation for pain and suffering and other losses. Reach out to our law offices today to schedule a free consultation with a Long Island pain and suffering lawyer.
What Are Pain & Suffering Damages?
In any personal injury case, you may be entitled to 3 types of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. Economic damages pay for your direct financial losses, while non-economic damages cover intangible losses. Punitive damages punish a wrongdoer for engaging in intentional or reckless conduct.
Pain and suffering falls into the broad category of non-economic damages. There are two types of pain and suffering: physical pain and suffering and mental pain and suffering (or emotional distress). Generally, physical pain and suffering includes any type of discomfort that a person has suffered or will suffer in the future because of the injuries caused by an accident.
Another way of looking at pain and suffering is considering the ways that being hurt in a car accident affects a person’s quality of life. Consider a case where a person suffered several broken bones in a car accident. They experienced a lot of pain, had multiple surgeries, and went through months of therapy to recover. Pain and suffering damages would compensate them for everything that they went through as a direct result of the accident.
Pain and suffering damages are an integral part of any personal injury claim. While they may not be as easy to quantify as things like medical expenses or property damage, they are no less important to an injury victim.
When Can I Get Pain & Suffering Damages?
In New York, motorists are required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage as part of their auto insurance policy. Also referred to as no-fault insurance, this coverage will pay for your medical bills, lost earnings, and other reasonable and necessary expenses if you are in a car accident. PIP covers up to $50,000 per person in expenses.
The goal of no-fault insurance is to ensure that accident victims get the medical treatment that they need after an accident as quickly as possible. Instead of having to wait for the other driver’s insurance coverage to pay for things like doctor’s office visits or the cost of prescription medication, the claim will go to your own insurance company. It does not cover non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, or property damage.
Most minor car accidents will be covered under the no-fault system. However, you can step outside of the no-fault coverage and pursue a claim against the at-fault driver if you have suffered a “serious injury.” This may include:
- Significant disfigurement;
- One or more bone fractures;
- A permanent limitation of use of a body organ or member;
- A significant limitation of the use of a body function or system; and/or
- Substantially full disability for 90 days.
If your injury qualifies as “serious” under New York law, then you are not limited to a no-fault claim with your own insurance company. You can file a claim against the other driver’s insurance coverage or even file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. With the help of a Long Island pain and suffering lawyer, you can seek compensation for all of your losses, including pain and suffering, and emotional trauma.
How Are Pain and Suffering Damages Calculated?
Unlike medical expenses, there isn’t an easy way to put a number on pain and suffering. Insurance companies often use software programs or something known as a multiplier to calculate pain and suffering compensation. For example, the insurance company will multiply a person’s non-economic damages by 1.5 to 4 to get a rough estimate of the value of their pain and suffering.
Your own personal injury attorney can also calculate your paid and suffering damages. Our law firm uses a range of evidence to prove damages for pain and suffering. This may include:
- Your medical records;
- Testimony from your doctors;
- Your employment records;
- Your own testimony about how your injuries have affected your daily life, including your pain levels, your relationship with others, and your ability to work.
Other factors that go into a pain and suffering calculation include your age, your financial losses, your emotional distress, and your credibility as a witness. For example, if a jury thinks that you are exaggerating the extent of your injuries or your pain and suffering, then they may be inclined to give you a lower award for pain and suffering.
The Odierno Law Firm has significant experience with accident cases involving pain and suffering claims. If you have been hurt in any type of accident, you can count on our personal injury lawyers to get you top dollar for your claim. Reach out today to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team.
Injured in an Accident? Our Pain and Suffering Lawyers Are Here to Help.
Accidents can cause injuries far beyond what is visible to the naked eye. If you have suffered a serious injury in a motor vehicle crash, then you may be able to pursue a claim for all of your losses – including pain and suffering. Our law firm will fight for your right to full compensation.
Based in Melville, NY, The Odierno Law Firm aggressively advocates for accident victims in Long Island. We never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. To learn more or to schedule a free initial consultation with a Long Island pain and suffering attorney, give our law office a call at 631-994-1802 or fill out our online contact form.
Are There Other Types of Non-Economic Damages That I Can Recover Beyond Pain and Suffering?
Yes. If you suffered a serious injury, then you can file a lawsuit for all of your losses. This may include non-economic damages like scarring, disfigurement, emotional trauma, impaired quality of life, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium. In addition, you can seek economic damages for losses beyond what PIP would cover, including lost wages and medical bills.
The Odierno Law Firm works hard to help our clients get top dollar for their injuries, including intangible losses like pain and suffering. Reach out to our law offices today to schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our legal team.
How Can I Afford a Pain and Suffering Lawyer?
Personal injury law firms typically represent clients on a contingency fee basis. This means that you pay nothing upfront, and only pay an attorney’s fee if they recover money for you through a settlement or verdict at trial. The fee will be a percentage of your total recovery.
The Odierno Law Firm represents clients using a contingency fee arrangement. This ensures that our clients can ensure top-quality legal representation, even if they don’t have the cash on hand to pay an hourly fee. Contact us today to set up an appointment with a Long Island pain and suffering attorney.
Will My Pain and Suffering Compensation Be Taxable?
If you suffered any physical injury in a car crash or another type of accident, then all compensatory damages – including both economic and non-economic damages – will not be subject to federal or state taxes. This is true even if you suffered only a slight physical injury. However, if you only suffered an emotional injury, then your settlement will be fully taxable.
Your Long Island pain and suffering lawyer will explain taxes and related issues to you. They will also ensure that your settlement is structured in a way that helps to avoid or minimizes taxes. Call The Odierno Law Firm to schedule a free consultation.