A serious accident can bring your entire life to a screeching halt. In California, injured victims have the right to seek compensation for economic and non-economic damages from the at-fault party, including for pain and suffering. The terms pain and suffering are explained in the California Civil Jury Instructions (3905A). By definition, pain and suffering is intangible damage. It is meant to cover the real, but hard to define loss associated with physical pain and mental trauma.
This raises an important question: Can you recover compensation for pain and suffering if you do not have any medical bills? Typically, it is recommended to see a doctor to build a strong personal injury claim that increases the chances of maximum recovery. This is particularly true when there were physical injuries. But not every personal injury claim is based on physical bodily harm. Here, our Oakland personal injury lawyers explain the key things to know about recovering compensation for pain and suffering in California.
When is a Personal Injury Claim Applicable?
When a victim decides to pursue compensation through a personal injury claim, it is because they were hurt in some way by a negligent party. The personal injury claim is a remedy to help secure financial compensation for the harm that they had to endure.
It may not be easy to see mental or cognitive damages that a victim sustains. Despite this, mental and emotional injuries can sometimes be even more painful and debilitating than a physical injury. In this way, a personal injury claim can be filed to help recompense victims for their emotional damages. This is true even when the emotional injuries were not accompanied by physical injuries.
When Can Emotional Distress Without Injury Be Compensated by a Personal Injury Claim?
In California, it is not necessary for victims to have physical injuries in order to have a claim for “personal injury.” For example, when a person experiences intense distress from a situation caused by another party’s egregious behavior and they are emotionally traumatized but not physically injured, an Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress claim may be appropriate.
To better illustrate how this can come about consider a father witnesses a car fatally smashing into his young son. The father may not have been injured from the collision, but seeing the death of his son in such an appalling way has the potential to inflict severe mental pain. The pain can be so great that the father struggles to function in daily life. The shock of the whole ordeal may result in an inability to sleep or focus on work, therefore the father is forced to take time away from his job.
Another instance where emotional damages may be awarded without physical bodily harm could be from wrongful termination at work. A person who is mistreated at work and then fired could have a case to recover a large emotional distress award.
Call Our San Francisco Bay Area Personal Injury Attorneys Today
Recovering compensation for the infliction of emotional harm can be highly complicated. As such, only an attorney with experience with these claims should be considered to provide legal guidance and support.
At Bracamontes & Vlasak, our California personal injury lawyers are committed to protecting the rights of victims and their families. If you have any questions about recovering compensation for pain and suffering, we are available as a resource. Contact us now for a no-cost, no-obligation review of your case. We represent injured victims in Oakland, San Francisco, and throughout the Bay Area.