8 Things You Should Know About Pain And Suffering Damages In Truck Accident Cases

What is pain and suffering in truck accident cases? What compensation can someone get for their pain and suffering after such an accident? Here is what you should know.

1. Pain And Suffering Damages Compensate You Pain and Suffering

It is essentially money that the court awards you to make up for all the physical and emotional pain and suffering you endured.

It’s compensation for injuries for things like:

  • The agonizing pain from broken bones, burns, lacerations and other injuries you sustained
  • Endless nights of crushing insomnia and anxiety from the mental trauma
  • Severe depression, PTSD and other psychological impacts messing with your quality of life
  • Permanent disfigurements or disabilities that will haunt you forever
  • Being robbed of your ability to enjoy life’s daily activities

The law essentially recognizes that enduring so much trauma has a cash value.

2. Pain And Suffering Damages Are Separate From Medical Bills And Lost Wages

It’s easy to think all the costs and losses from a truck crash would be lumped together into one bucket. But they’re not – pain and suffering is considered a unique category of damages you can be awarded on its own.

Your pain and suffering compensation would be completely separate from whatever medical costs you’re reimbursed for hospital stays, surgeries, therapy, medications and so forth. Any wages you may have lost from missed work also get calculated in their own bucket.

So pain and suffering is like its own “bonus” category on top of everything else. And the amounts can really stack up, as we’ll explain in a bit.

3. No Exact Formula Exists For Calculating Pain And Suffering Damages

Unlike medical costs or lost wages that can often be calculated down to the dollar amount using billing statements and paycheck stubs, pain and suffering damages are murkier and more subjective.

There’s no set “formula” the court follows. Factors they consider include:

  • The severity of your physical injuries and recovery time
  • Whether you’ll have any permanent disfigurements or disabilities
  • Extent of your emotional distress and mental anguish
  • How much your overall quality of life and ability to enjoy activities was impacted
  • Testimony from medical experts, therapists, family members and others close to you

Insurance companies will lowball pain and suffering damages all day if they can. But an argument can be made for higher damages the more hugely impactful your pain and suffering was.

4. In Many Cases, Pain And Suffering Damages Exceed Medical Costs

While every truck accident case is judged individually, in many instances the awarded pain and suffering damages actually wind up exceeding the reimbursed medical costs.

Why? Because the human cost of enduring severe physical and mental trauma frequently exceeds the financial costs.

For example, say you racked up $100,000 in medical bills from the accident. Supposing you endured intense lower pain after being hit by a truck, had your life disrupted, and suffered psychological scars, the court could potentially award you $250,000 or more in pain and suffering damages on top of that $100K for medical costs.

So despite pain and suffering being lumped under the umbrella of “non-economic” damages, the dollar figures can get very real, very fast. Don’t let insurance companies smooth-talk you into thinking otherwise.

5. Certain States Do Place “Caps” On Pain And Suffering Awards

In an ideal world, the courts would be free to award truck accident victims whatever fair and reasonable pain and suffering damages seem appropriate based on their particular situation.

But in the real world, the truth is more than half of U.S. states do enforce specific dollar “caps” or limits on how much can be awarded for pain and suffering damages in personal injury cases.

These arbitrary caps can work out to maximums as “low” as $350,000 or so in certain states. Other states have higher caps or none at all.

While enacted with good intentions to theoretically control insurance costs, in reality these caps can preventruck accident victims from receiving the full compensation they deserve for extreme pain and suffering. An experienced truck accident lawyer knows how to navigate around these caps as much as possible.

6. Having The Right Lawyer Hugely Impacts Pain And Suffering Awards

No factor impacts the potential pain and suffering damages you might receive more than your choice in legal representation. Representing yourself or hiring an inexperienced lawyer is a sure way to not get what you deserve.

But a seasoned truck accident attorney who has won massive pain and suffering settlements knows how to forcefully argue and provide persuasive evidence why your pain and suffering damages should be maximized based on:

  • The shocking details and negligence involved in the truck crash
  • Documented proof of your severe injuries, trauma, and recovery struggles
  • Calculating not just past pain and suffering, but awarding for your future expected suffering as well
  • Earning the sympathy of the judge or jury through compelling storytelling

No insurance carrier can stonewall a brilliant legal advocate fighting relentlessly for the compensation their client deserves. Having that firepower is invaluable.

7. Pain And Suffering Damages Are Usually Taxed Differently

Here’s a quirky factor about pain and suffering damages most folks don’t realize: they are typically taxed differently than other forms of compensation from a personal injury case settlement or award.

In general, any compensatory damages you receive specifically for your actual economic damages (medical costs, lost wages, etc) are not considered taxable income under U.S. law.

However, any additional damages awarded for “non-economic” reasons like pain and suffering very well could be ruled as taxable income based on federal and state regulations. This can cost you a pretty penny out of those sizable awards.

Consulting a tax professional and your personal injury lawyer about structuring pain and suffering damages properly is advisable to maximize your final payout.

8. Pain And Suffering Damages Aren’t Easily Claimed Without Legal Action

Our final key point about pain and suffering damages to be aware of: don’t expect to receive them without filing an official lawsuit or legal claim.

Sure, the insurance company for the at-fault truck driver or trucking company may offer you a quick settlement at the outset to avoid legal action. But you can just about guarantee that lowball offer won’t include anything beyond reimbursement for basic medical costs and maybe some lost wages.

In order to earn a maximized settlement that fairly compensates you for all your actual pain and suffering endured, you’ll likely need to lawyer up and prepare for detailed arguments, negotiations, and potential courtroom battles.

It’s surely not a quick and easy road. But considering how life-changing and traumatic truck accident injuries can be, fighting for the pain and suffering damages you deserve is often well worth the extra effort with the right legal firm in your corner.

There you have it – the 8 most important things to understand about pain and suffering damages in commercial truck accident cases. We aimed to explain it all in simple, plain terms so the core knowledge sticks with you.

Just remember: your pain, your suffering, and your emotional trauma all count for something. And when it comes to truck accident cases, they can significantly affect the amount of damages that the court ends up awarding you.

Don’t let anybody devalue or dismiss what you’ve gone through after being victimized by a negligent truck driver or trucking company. With perseverance and proper legal representation, you can receive the compensation you deserve.

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