Can I Recover Damages for Pain and Suffering After a Drunk Driving Accident?

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A female victim of a car accident seated next to her car crying on the sidewalk, and documents on the ground next to her.After falling victim to a drunk driving collision, many people are faced with serious injuries and property losses. If this has happened to you, you are probably wondering how you are going to pay for everything or who is responsible for paying for your medical expenses and vehicle.

These expenses are called economic damages, and as long as you were not at fault for the accident, you can file a claim for damages from the driver who was at fault and their insurance company.

Average Pain and Suffering Settlement After Being Hit by Drunk Driver

The amount of compensation people receive for pain and suffering after being hit by a drunk driver differs depending on the circumstances of their accident and the severity of their injuries.

The economic and noneconomic damages are added together to create the compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are what you will receive in an attempt to return you to the state you were in before the accident, according to the Legal Information Institute.

Obviously, this return is not possible if you have suffered permanent injuries, but it is meant to be as close to reasonable as possible. If you have been hurt in a drunk driving accident, contact the specialist personal injury lawyers at Tatum & Atkinson to evaluate your case.

Contributory Negligence

North Carolina has a rule called Contributory Negligence. This rule means that if the victim is found to share any of the faults for the accident, they cannot claim damages.

Even if they are only given one percent of the responsibility for causing the collision, they will not receive any financial compensation from a personal injury claim.

Non-Economic Damages

So what about non-economic damages? Commonly referred to as pain and suffering, these damages refer to the physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish you may experience as a result of your accident or injuries.

Non-economic damages are given a monetary value and added to your claim for economic damages. They have no actual dollar value, so it is difficult to assign an amount to how much pain you had to endure and how your life has changed.

Most victims of drunk driving accidents are able to recover damages for pain and suffering with the help of a drunk driving accident attorney.

How to Prove Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering cannot be proven with bills and receipts like economic damages can. There are several ways to support your claim of pain and suffering.

  • Medical records
  • Testimony from doctors
  • Prescription medications
  • Testimonies from family and friends
  • Detailed journal about your life after the accident

Medical Records

Your medical records are legal documentation of your injuries. It is especially helpful if you have your medical records from both before and after your accident to show that your injuries were not preexisting.

The difference the injuries have made in your life is what you will be compensated for.

Testimony From Doctors

Statements from professionals, such as medical doctors, therapists, physical therapists, and rehabilitation specialists, will be used to illustrate just how much damage your injuries have cost you.

Prescription Medications

The need for prescription medication, such as pain medicine or anti-depressants, can strengthen your case for how your injuries have changed your life.

Testimonies From Family and Friends

People close to you can testify how your injuries have changed your life. They can highlight activities that you are no longer able to participate in and any loss of autonomy.

Detailed Journal

You should keep a detailed journal of all your experiences since the accident. The details should include how you feel both physically and emotionally. This journal can be used to show any loss of enjoyment of life as well as any chronic pain or depression.

How Will the Value of Pain and Suffering Be Calculated?

If your claim for damages goes to court, the jury will use multiple details to calculate the value of your pain and suffering. These details will come from the following:

  • How your injuries have affected your life
  • The overall seriousness of your injuries
  • Your age
  • The change in your health from before to after the accident
  • How long it will take you to recover
  • If your injuries caused any permanent damage
  • The effects of the accident and your injuries on your mental health
  • How your injuries have limited daily activities
  • Any loss of companionship or feelings of self-worth
  • How your injuries have impacted your relationships with your family and friends

Methods the Courts Use to Determine Monetary Value of Pain and Suffering

While considering these details to establish how the accident has affected your life, there are two main methods for determining the monetary value of your compensation.

The first way is the multiplier method, according to Forbes. The total cost of your economic damages, so your medical expenses and lost wages, is multiplied by a number typically between 1.5 and 5.

The second way is called the per diem method, where the daily cost of your pain is calculated and then multiplied by how many days your injuries are expected to take to heal.

Is There a Limit to How Much Can Be Claimed for Pain and Suffering?

In North Carolina, there is no cap on the amount of non-economic damages you can receive as compensation for your pain and suffering.

The complexities of determining how much you should claim is why it is so important to have an experienced drunk driving accident lawyer working with you. Insurance companies also offer far less to people without legal representation.

Call Tatum & Atkinson for a Free Consultation

The attorneys at Tatum & Atkinson have over 65 years of combined legal experience. We work efficiently so you can get your compensation as quickly as possible.

You can trust us to give you honest advice about your case and always work towards your best interests. You need to focus on recovering from your injuries, so let us fight the legal battle for you.

Call us today at (800) LAW-0804 for a free consultation. We will get to work right away, and we will not ask for any payment until you get paid.