Car crashes are among the leading causes of serious injuries in our region. According to data from the North Carolina Department of Transportation, 105,382 people were injured in crashes in the state in 2020 alone. A car accident can bring your entire life to a halt. Following a major crash, you need money to pay medical bills, cover lost wages, and compensate you for other damages.
This raises an important question: Can you seek compensation for pain and suffering after a car accident in North Carolina? The short answer is ‘yes’—compensation for pain and suffering can be recovered as non-economic damages in North Carolina. Here, our Hillsborough and Raleigh auto accident lawyers explain the key things to know about seeking compensation for pain and suffering.
You Have a Right to Seek Compensation for Economic and Non-Economic Damages
Car accident victims have the right to seek compensation for economic and non-economic damages from the at-fault party and/or their insurance company. Economic damage is broadly defined as a tangible, out-of-pocket loss. Some common examples include motor vehicle repairs, lost wages, medical expenses, and ongoing rehabilitative care costs.
In contrast, non-economic damages refer to intangible losses that are not tied to any specific economic loss. Some common examples of economic damages include pain and suffering and permanent scarring/disfigurement. While it is inherently difficult to put a dollar value on non-economic damage, they are recoverable in a car accident claim in North Carolina.
How are Pain and Suffering Defined in a Personal Injury Claim?
Pain and suffering is a relatively broad legal term of art that refers both to the physical pain and mental suffering that a person endured. It is crucial that pain and suffering are considered as part of a personal injury claim. The physical and mental recovery process after a serious car accident can be long and daunting. Victims deserve fair treatment.
An Overview of How Pain and Suffering Damages Are Calculated in North Carolina
With a medical bill, you have clear evidence that you can point to support its value. Of course, as pain and suffering are intangible, non-economic losses, the same is not true for this type of non-economic damage.
As explained in North Carolina Pattern Jury Instructions for Civil Cases (810.08), “there is no fixed formula for placing a value on physical pain and mental suffering.” Instead, any jury that hears a car accident case and needs to determine the value of a victim’s pain and suffering is instructed to apply their “logic and common sense to the evidence.”
In other words, pain and suffering damages are determined on a case-by-case basis. If you were involved in a serious car crash in North Carolina, it is imperative that you are able to present a strong and compelling case for the impact that the collision had on your life. The more evidence that you have, the better position that you will be in to maximize your financial recovery for pain and suffering damages.
Insurance Companies May Try to Undervalue Pain and Suffering
Juries recognize that the pain and suffering that comes with a severe or catastrophic injury is significant. Indeed, in many cases, pain and suffering are awarded as a multiple of the victim’s actual economic damages. However, the large insurance companies that process auto accident claims are notorious for trying to limit the value of settlement offers. They may offer little or no compensation for pain and suffering after a serious accident.
If you were hurt in a car crash in North Carolina, an experienced personal injury lawyer will help you take action to hold the insurance company accountable. A settlement offer should reflect the full value of your damages, including your vehicle repairs, your medical bills, your lost wages, your loss of earning capacity, and the pain and suffering that you endured during and after the accident.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a North Carolina Auto Accident Attorney Today
At Paynter Law, our North Carolina car accident lawyers have the legal skills and professional experience that you can count on after a serious crash. All of your damages should be calculated in your claim, including your pain and suffering. If you have any specific questions about seeking pain and suffering compensation after an accident, we can help.
Call our experienced North Carolina car accident lawyers at Paynter Law now for a free, no-obligation initial consultation. From our law offices in Hillsborough and Raleigh, we represent injured victims in Orange County, Wake County, Durham County, and throughout the State of North Carolina.