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Recovery for Emotional Distress Following an Auto Accident – Pain and Suffering Compensation

Emotional distress can exist in all types of personal injury cases, even in cases where the bodily injury is slight. In fact, in many claims for compensation, the emotional damages sustained are far greater than any physical injury. In order to maximize the potential value of any personal injury claim, the attorney representing you should be aware of the complexities and nuances of emotional distress recovery. Below you will find important information concerning recovery for pain and suffering compensation. If you have any further legal questions after reading this article, please feel free to contact our law offices. All legal consultations are provided by our attorneys free of charge.

Calculating Emotional Distress and Pain and Suffering in the state of California:
There are no well defined standards in the State of California when it comes to calculating how much a victim is entitled to for her psychological damages emanating from an accident. The amorphous nature of establishing a monetary dollar amount places much of the hard work on the attorney representing the victim in being able to provide a potential jury with a well thoughout and reasonable assessment of the damages suffered.

In some instances, a per-diem basis may be used where the plaintiff’s attorney asks the jury to place a daily monetary amount as recovery for a victim’s pain and suffering. That number is then multiplied by the number of days a victim has suffered and the number of days where the victim is expected to suffer.

Perhaps a more effective argument would be to ask the jury how much money they would pay on a daily basis to not suffer the pain, mental anguish, distress, anxiety, and depression resulting from the harm suffered. In that way a victim’s harm can be personalized and individualized for the jury thus allowing them to empathize with the plaintiff.

California Law Non-Economic Damage Recovery: Under California law, victims of harm due to the negligent or intentional conduct of others are entitled to recovery for the following:

  • Past and future physical pain
  • Past and future mental suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Disfigurement
  • Physical impairment
  • Inconvenience
  • Grief and anxiety
  • Humiliation and emotional distress

Each of these categories requires an assessment of their severity and magnitude specific to the harm the victim has suffered. California common law on civil damages allowed for recovery for each the categories provided for. For example, a victim of an auto accident is able to receive recovery for the anxiety suffered every time she gets into a vehicle following the accident. A victim is able to receive recovery for any inconvenience suffered, including for example having to take public transportation because of the fear of driving a the vehicle.

Other examples of emotional distresses not specifically delineated in California jury instructions but where recovery is available include the following:

  • Major episodes of depression resulting from the trauma sustained in the accident.
  • PTSD – Post traumatic stress disorder.
  • Panic and Anxiety disorders.

Attorney Consultation Available: If you have any further legal questions concerning your right to recovery for pain and suffering and emotional distress, please feel free to contact our offices. All legal consultations regarding your case are provided free of charge by our experienced attorneys.

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