What Is Considered Pain and Suffering in an Accident When a Semi-Truck Is At Fault?
January 11, 2022
Truck accidents happen every day, and when they do, they often result in severe injury or death. If you have been injured due to the negligence of a truck driver in the state of Georgia, you may file an insurance claim to pay for your injuries. If your life has drastically changed because of an accident, you may be able to sue for emotional pain and suffering.
Insurance Laws in Georgia
Georgia is a fault state when it comes to automobile insurance; this means that the person who caused a crash will pay for its associated bills. If you are a driver in Georgia, you know that drivers must carry liability insurance of $25,000.00 per person and $50,000.00 per accident.
Because truck accidents generally result in more severe accidents, truck drivers in Georgia must carry $100,000.00 per person and $300,000.00 for each accident. Vehicles with more than 12 passengers and are used for commercial purposes must carry insurance of $500,000.00 or more. Georgia only requires private automobiles and pickup trucks to carry liability insurance of $25,000.00 per person and $50,000.00 per accident.
If you have been injured in a car accident and your bills add up to more money than the driver was insured for, you may sue them for the difference. Whether or not you can sue for pain and suffering depends on how your injuries have affected your ability to resume your normal life.
What is Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering is a legal term that applies to non-economic damages suffered by an accident victim or the victim of a crime. It can be difficult to determine the amount of money to ask for when filing a personal injury case, as it is hard to quantify the value of a person’s emotions.
The term can apply to either long or short-term conditions. However, permanent conditions tend to nettle higher settlements.
Compensation for injuries in Georgia falls into two basic categories: general and special. General damages are those things that are hard to put a price on, such as the loss of the function of a body organ or the loss of a loved one. Unlike some states, Georgia does not put a cap on the amount of money you can get for pain and suffering.
Special damages are more quantifiable. It may apply to wages that have been lost as a result of a person’s injuries or bills for long-term psychiatric care.
Pain and suffering may apply to several different conditions that a person can experience as a result of personal injury or death. Knowing what they are can help you to assess whether or not you have a personal injury case.
Interference with Everyday Life
If an individual can no longer take care of their personal or professional responsibilities, they might be able to make a successful claim for pain and suffering. A person should be able to resume work or participate in family activities the way they once did after physical therapy and medical treatments. This may also apply if the accident victim can perform these activities but is unable to enjoy them.
If a person cannot drive a car or exercise the way they once did, this may also fall into the same category.
Loss of Capacity to Hold Employment or Earn Wages
When a person has an accident, and they have to miss work to go to the doctor’s office, an insurance company will often pay for the time they have missed away from their job. However, a policy may not pay them if they are permanently unable to work after an injury.
A pain and suffering lawsuit in Georgia may be initiated if an injured person is simply unable to continue to work due to their injuries.
Distress to Loved Ones
In some cases, An injured person may recover compensation for the people in their life who have suffered because of their injuries. If they cannot take care of themselves and their family members have to take care of them or hire someone to do it for them, this may hurt them both financially and emotionally.
For example, if a person’s spouse has to miss an important business meeting, the spouse may get in trouble at work or be demoted or fired. If a teenager has to stay home to take care of a disabled person, they may not have a normal adolescent life.
Fear of the Extent of Injury
If a person is suffering or has suffered extreme anxiety because of their injuries, they may be able to sue for the emotional distress that it causes them. They may develop a psychological condition called dystychiphobia, which is the excessive fear of having an accident. If the fear of being injured again or of their current injuries getting worse affects their ability to function normally, it may qualify as pain and suffering.
Limitations of movement
It is not uncommon for a person to experience permanent limitations of movement when they have been injured in an accident. If a person breaks their hand or wrist, they may have difficulty making a fist, which will limit their daily activities. If they break a leg and it does not fully heal, they may find that the leg does not have the range of motion it once did.
Losing even the partial function of a limb can be both physically and emotionally distressing. A person may suffer from depression and anxiety if they are partially disabled.
When a person has a physical injury, all they have to do is provide the responsible insurance company with their medical bills, the bill from their auto mechanic, and a note from their employer stating the time they have missed away from work.
Even when they have all of the necessary paperwork to prove the amount of money their injuries cost, an insurance company is likely to try to get out of paying an injured person what they deserve. The insurance company may say the injuries were made worse by preexisting conditions, or they may say that the victim did not put enough effort into their recovery.
It is much harder to prove emotional damages. Not only are insurance companies unwilling to pay for this type of damage, but juries are also very suspicious of plaintiffs who are asking for pain and suffering compensation.
Movies, television, and the news media have done a very good job of vilifying plaintiffs in personal injury lawsuits. People who want money for emotional suffering are often portrayed as greedy con artists looking for an easy payday.
How You can Document Pain and Suffering
To convince an insurance adjuster or jury to compensate a claimant for pain and suffering, you must establish cause and effect. There are a few ways to document the fact that your life has changed for the worse since your accident happened.
- Document changes to your regular routine.
- Save proof of psychological treatments.
- Make copies of letters from or to family members in which you discuss your illness.
It is essential to document any physical conditions caused by the psychological stress you have experienced. For example, if you have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of your accident, you may have an increased heart rate and high blood pressure. Establishing that emotional problems have taken a physical toll will work to prove pain and suffering.
The insurance adjuster and juries alike are more likely to award money for emotional trauma if the accident was very severe. Getting injured in a truck accident is a common fear shared by people who drive on the highway. The very fact that an accident victim was hit by a truck may make a jury more sympathetic. If you can prove that the trucking company and the driver who worked for them were negligent, that can also be helpful.
There is nothing quite as convincing to a jury as an expert witness. You should have regular sessions with mental health professionals and have them document your progress and the medications that you are on.
Expert witnesses can include mental health professionals and other medical doctors. It is best to find a witness who is an expert in the specific condition from which you suffer.
It is essential to provide the court with records of every therapy session you have and receipts for any medications you have taken.
Witnesses are also important. Having a victim’s family members and coworkers testify can also be helpful. They are often the most credible source of information in terms of the person’s mood and character both before and after the accident.
Getting into a truck accident is one of the worst experiences a person can have. Insurance compensation can help the injured person get the help they need and move on with their life.