In South Carolina, you can claim compensation for all financial and non-financial losses you suffer after a road accident. Non-financial losses fall into several categories, including pain and suffering. Your South Carolina personal injury attorney can help you claim compensation for pain and suffering, but what determines the value of a personal injury case, and how is pain and suffering calculated in South Carolina?
What is Pain and Suffering in South Carolina?
Pain and suffering is a legal term that describes the physical and emotional stress you suffer when you are involved in an accident. In South Carolina, you can be compensated for this kind of suffering if you are able to prove that the accident caused you great physical and emotional discomfort, which is why you should hire a qualified and experienced attorney to help you build a strong case.
Pain and suffering damages apply to most personal injury claims, including car, truck, boat, plane, bicycle, motorcycle, and pedestrian accidents. The compensation you receive for these damages depends on the amount of pain and suffering you are deemed to have suffered because of the accident.
How to Calculate Your Pain and Suffering
It’s difficult to determine the amount of money that the pain and suffering you undergo after an accident is worth, as there isn’t a specific formula for calculating this. Recently, the South Carolina Supreme Court explained that there is no market price for pain and suffering caused by a personal injury because it can’t be accurately determined, and there is no standard way of measuring it.
Therefore, the court concluded that the amount of compensation awarded to you for pain and suffering should be determined by the jury. Of course, there are several important factors that courts in South Carolina consider when determining the amount of compensation to be awarded for pain and suffering–such as types of injuries sustained, medication prescribed, recovery period, permanency of the injuries, and the evidence presented.
Your insurance company and defense lawyer will estimate the total value of your case by allocating pain and suffering a definite number (between one and five) based on the severity of your injuries. Although there is no limit to the amount of pain and suffering you can endure during an accident, South Carolina places a cap on non-financial damages in some cases. For instance, for malpractice claims, pain and suffering damages are limited to $350,000 per respondent, and the overall cap for all respondents is $1.05 million. Compensation for pain and suffering caused by the government is capped at $300,000.
It’s also important to know what percentage most personal injury lawyers take in South Carolina, because personal injury attorneys are compensated through a contingency fee agreement.
How to Prove Your Pain and Suffering Claims
As noted above, it’s not easy to quantify the pain and suffering after an accident. Unlike financial damages, you can’t provide a medical bill to the jury to show how much the respondent owes you. Fortunately, there are other ways to prove your pain and suffering claims.
You can call on a medical expert to give evidence of how much pain and suffering you’ve endured since the accident. They are better positioned to show whether the injuries you’ve suffered are likely to cause pain and suffering, as well as the severity of the pain and its duration.
Layman witnesses are also crucial for supporting your pain and suffering claims–they include friends and relatives who can successfully prove that your injuries have had a major impact on your life.
Don’t throw away your medical records–particularly the notes from your doctor and nurses–because they contain details of your physical and psychological state during your hospital visits. This is why it’s important to disclose to your doctor every single pain and discomfort you experience following an accident.