What Is Pain and Suffering After a Car Accident in South Carolina?
If you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for the physical and emotional harm you’ve suffered. Some types of compensation are relatively easy to calculate, such as the cost of medical treatment, property damage, and your lost wages. But when it comes to compensating a victim for pain and suffering, it’s more complicated to determine what is fair.
Pain and suffering is an intangible loss. You can’t put an automatic dollar value on it. Even people with similar injuries may not be entitled to the same amount of pain and suffering damages due to small differences in the facts of their cases. The best way to estimate how much pain and suffering you could receive in South Carolina will come from consulting an experienced car accident lawyer at Stewart Law Offices.
For more than 30 years, our attorneys have obtained justice for South Carolina auto accident victims just like you. We understand that the impacts of an accident can be far-reaching, and we strive to deliver results that take all of your losses, including pain and suffering, into account. Let us help you get what you’re owed.
Call or contact us today for a free consultation with a knowledgeable car accident lawyer. We have offices conveniently located in Rock Hill, Columbia, Spartanburg, and Beaufort. ** If it’s easier, we’ll come to you. Your wellbeing is our priority.
What Is Pain and Suffering After a Car Accident?
Pain and suffering is the physical pain, psychological harm, or emotional distress that someone suffers from a traumatic event. In order to prove your claim and obtain the most favorable settlement that you deserve, it is important to present as much supporting documentation and evidence as possible. This will help demonstrate the severity of the trauma you are experiencing.
The most common ways to show evidence of pain and suffering include:
- Medical reports and evaluations
- Prescriptions and receipts for medications and equipment
- Receipts and logs for physical therapy
- Bills for ambulatory transport, emergency room visits, surgeries, and medical care
- Photos and video showing the injuries and physical limitations that the accident has caused
- Testimony from medical professionals about the extent of the injuries
- Statements from family members and friends supporting the negative impact of the injury on your life
- Proof of time lost from school or work
- Your statement describing the pain and trauma that you are experiencing because of the car accident and resulting injuries
Economic vs. Non-Economic Damages
There are two main categories of compensation that you may be able to receive after a car accident. They are called economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages have a definite monetary value. They can be calculated and substantiated. Here are some examples of economic damages:
- Property damage: Vehicle damage, personal property, and real property are compensable in South Carolina.
- Past and future medical expenses: The astronomical costs of medical treatment, injuries, ongoing therapy, prescription medications, and long-term care place many victims in financial distress.
- Lost wages: If you couldn’t work after the crash, you can recover money for your lost income.
- Loss of earning capacity or business opportunities: Any potential income lost because of permanent physical impairment or disability can be compensated.
Non-economic damages are not as simple to quantify and are referred to as pain and suffering. Here are some examples of non-economic damages:
- Physical pain
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
- Physical impairment
- Humiliation and embarrassment
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Damage to reputation
In some cases, punitive damages may also be possible for willful, wanton, or reckless acts performed by the at-fault party. A car accident lawyer can help determine whether punitive damages are possible in your case.
Why Is Measuring Pain and Suffering So Difficult?
Although pain and suffering is an agonizing ordeal for victims, there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to determining the amount of trauma suffered. This makes the process of measuring it challenging. However, these are the two more commonly used methods:
This method is often preferred if the injuries you suffered are severe and require extensive, long-term medical care. Using this technique, the total amount of your monetary damages is multiplied by a number between one and five, with five indicating more serious injuries and losses. The following factors will be taken into consideration to determine that multiplier:
- Extent of the injuries
- Duration of recovery
- Overall limitations that the victim experiences since the accident
- Ability of the victim to enjoy activities since the accident
- Proportion of fault attributed to each party
Per Diem Method
This method is more commonly applied when the effects of the injuries are short-term, yet still disabling. While these injuries may not cause permanent disabilities, they are severe enough to affect your mobility and prevent you from working or enjoying your normal activities. With the per diem process, compensation is calculated by multiplying the number of days that it will take you to make a full recovery with a number equal to how much pain and suffering you experience per day.
South Carolina Pain and Suffering Damages Limitations
When making a claim for pain and suffering, there are legal limitations in South Carolina that you should know about:
Statute of Limitations: The statute of limitations limits the amount of time that you have to file a claim for the injuries that you suffered in a car accident. It’s three years from the date of the accident in South Carolina. [Section 15-3-530]
Caps are set for non-economic damages in the following situations:
- Malpractice: In malpractice lawsuits, there is a limit of $350,000 per defendant and an overall cap of $1.05 million [Section 15-32-220].
- Government lawsuits: Claims against the government are limited to $300,000 [Section 15-78-120].
- Punitive damages: Awards for punitive damages will be allowable for up to $500,000 or three times the actual damages, whichever is greater [Section 15-32-530].
In addition, compensation can be reduced under South Carolina’s modified comparative negligence law. The rule states that plaintiffs cannot recover compensation if they are found to be 51 percent or more at fault [Section 38-15-10].
An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in South Carolina Can Help You Today
If you were injured in an auto accident in South Carolina, you could be owed compensation for your pain and suffering. Put the car accident attorneys at Stewart Law Offices to work for you. We always demand maximum compensation for our clients, and we’re good at what we do. Call or contact us today for your free consultation.