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How do claims for pain and suffering work re auto accidents?

Most Alaskans know that financial relief may be pursued through the civil justice system for losses that resulted from another party's negligence. Monetary damages related to injuries, lost income, property damage and other financial losses after auto accidents are recoverable if the injured victim can prove that the other party was reckless or negligent. Emotional damages such as pain and suffering can be included in documented claims, but how does that work?

The first challenge when it comes to such a claim will be for the plaintiff to prove he or she suffered significant mental and physical pain after the accident, and that it is expected to continue in the future. The next challenge will be to quantify pain and suffering into a dollar amount. Such a claim is typically only valid for cases in which the physical injuries were significant. Mental suffering can also be claimed, but it must be linked to severe physical injuries.

For claims of pain and suffering, a judge or jury will consider the severity of the injury to determine the level of mental and physical anguish it might cause. Victims who suffer long-term debilitating injuries are most likely to be awarded compensation, particularly if it is clear that the victim will experience constant pain. Age could affect such an award as a young person may face more years of suffering than someone of advanced age.

This is a complicated legal issue that is usually best navigated by an attorney who is experienced in dealing with claims arising out of serious auto accidents. Not only can a lawyer help establish negligence, but he or she can also assist with putting a value on emotional damage claims such as pain and suffering. With the advocacy of skilled legal counsel, an injured accident victim might receive maximum damage recovery allowed under applicable personal injury laws in Alaska.

Source: FindLaw, "When Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering?", Daniel Taylor, May 5, 2018

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