Through no fault of your own, another driver suddenly crashes into your vehicle, leaving you with serious injuries. Are you entitled to sue for pain and suffering? Absolutely. In Maryland, it’s important to know that an at-fault driver is always held liable for the damages they negligently inflict.
The Maryland car accident attorneys at Rice, Murtha & Psoras Trial Lawyers explain what it takes for victims of car crashes to be able to sue for pain and suffering after a car accident in Maryland.
How Do You Define Pain and Suffering in Maryland?
Pain and suffering are damages you may be entitled to over and above your damages for vehicle repair, medical expenses, and lost wages. it may help to separate them into two categories:
- Physical pain and suffering from bodily injuries sustained in the car accident
- Mental pain and suffering for the trauma and anguish resulting from those same injuries
We have all experienced some sort of pain and can readily imagine the pain of a shattered wrist or the immediate stress of seeing a bloody gash on your forehead.
Pain is somewhat less difficult to define because there is a direct correlation between a bodily injury, like a broken leg for example, and the pain you would sustain in intensive physical therapy or multiple surgeries. However, the same broken leg may result in mental suffering and feelings of emotional trauma. That is the difference between pain and suffering, where the pain is the physical manifestation of your injuries and suffering is the emotional trauma that goes along with it.
Victims of car crashes will experience the intensity of emotions very differently. Everyone does not automatically suffer from feelings of anger, frustration, depression, or anxiety. the inability to work and function as you once did can be a trigger for negative emotions. Although it may be a welcome vacation for one car crash victim, the inability to work can cause great stress and personal trauma for another. Ultimately, severe injuries will have an emotional impact on your personal, work, and family life. You are entitled to compensation to help you live your life after a crash, and our Hagerstown, MD car accident lawyers can help you get there.
Loss of Enjoyment
Maryland laws allow damages for loss of enjoyment with your kids and loss of enjoyment in your life in general. If your limitations prevent you from enjoying activities you previously participated in and enjoyed, you may be entitled to compensation. These activities can include past hobbies, exercise, or going to the sports and school events of your children.
Loss of Consortium
In terms of fully enjoying life, there is also something called “loss of consortium,” which recognizes that injuries from a car crash can have a negative effect upon the most intimate relationship in your life. You may not want to get into the personal details of your romantic life with your spouse, but a loss of intimacy, companionship, and emotional support are compensable if they can be shown to be a direct result of your car accident.
Be aware that despite having healed from your physical injuries, mental pain and suffering can continue to have an ongoing and lasting negative impact on your life.
How Do You Evaluate Mental Suffering After a Maryland Car Crash?
Suffering encompasses several conditions and can be described in a number of interchangeable ways, for example, you may hear it described as mental distress, mental health issues, or mental disorders. Similarly, you can be suffering from emotional trauma, emotional distress, or emotional upheaval.
If you are experiencing mood swings, sleep loss, irritability, stress, fear, or various other mental conditions, you may seek compensation for the effect your injuries have had emotionally on you and your life. If you have not done so already, seek treatment immediately, this will help bolster any future claims for pain and suffering you may have.
The immediate and long-lasting effects of the injuries you may have sustained in a car crash are difficult to quantify. the frequency and extent of your resulting negative emotions may not make themselves apparent right away. For example, with a broken arm or leg, the emotional upheaval from not being able to work can turn into severe frustration, isolation, or hopelessness.
It is important to remember that despite having healed from your injuries, mental pain and suffering can continue to have a lasting negative impact on your life. If a bus driver can no longer drive a bus due to severe anxiety, stress, and shock, they may still be able to collect lost wages because of ongoing mental pain and suffering. Having a seasoned White Marsh car accident attorney by your side can help through this process.
Calculating Pain and Suffering for a Car Accident Victim
While you can sue for pain and suffering, the amount meant to compensate you and make you whole is difficult to quantify. the physical impact of the car crash is just the beginning of your potential pain and suffering. Do not devalue the emotional trauma and upheaval the injuries you sustained may have caused in your life.
There is no set formula to come up with a monetary figure to compensate someone for their pain and suffering. Various methods are used as ways to come up with a rough estimate.
One of the most common methods adds up medical bills and lost wages and uses a multiplier of anywhere between 1 and 5 to come up with an appropriate figure.
This method does not allow for a calculation of the severity, length, or extent of an injury or its negative impact on you or your life. Pain and suffering tends to occur on a continuum. Relatively minor emotional setbacks may not rise to the level of requiring mental health specialists, but they still cause damage and disruption in your life sufficient to allow for compensation.
More severe injuries requiring hospitalization or surgeries will inevitably result in some shock or mental distress. When more severe injuries require a mental health professional, do not hesitate to go. You may not understand that you could be suffering from lingering psychological and emotional trauma.
Contact Our Maryland Car Accident Lawyers Today to Discuss Pain and Suffering Damages
There is no question that the victim of a car crash can sue for pain and suffering. While difficult to quantify, an experienced Baltimore car accident lawyer will be skilled enough to understand the full value of your claim for pain and suffering and will be able to maximize your award in a settlement or jury verdict.
Contact our Maryland personal injury lawyers today at (410) 694-7291 for a free consultation if you or a loved one suffered either physical or emotional distress in a crash in Maryland.