Even safe and careful drivers still end up in collisions. The Alabama Department of Transportation reports that there are around 150,000 traffic collisions in the state each year. Altogether, those crashes result in nearly 50,000 injuries annually. If you were hurt in an accident in Alabama, you need money to pay your bills, support your family, and compensate you for any other damages.
This raises an important question: Can I recover car accident compensation for pain and suffering? In Alabama, the answer is ‘yes’—assuming that you present a strong case that establishes liability and proves your damages. Here, our Birmingham auto accident attorneys provide a guide to recovering compensation for pain and suffering after a crash in Alabama.
What is Pain and Suffering?
As defined by the Cornell Legal Information Institute, pain and suffering is a term used to describe the “pain, discomfort, anguish, inconvenience, and emotional trauma that accompanies an injury.” In other words, pain and suffering is a non-economic damage. While very real, there is generally no specific medical bill or medical record that you can clearly point to that establishes the full extent of your pain and suffering. It is intangible damage.
Know the Law: You Can Recover Compensation for Non-Economic Damages in Alabama
Alabama is a fault-based motor vehicle collision state. In effect, this means that the driver, truck company, vehicle manufacturer, or other party deemed responsible for causing an accident will be held liable for the resulting damages. For example, imagine that you were injured in a crash with a distracted driver in Birmingham. Under Alabama law, you would have the right to hold that driver legally liable for the full extent of your damages, including economic and non-economic losses.
Pain and suffering is a non-economic damage. In Alabama, you have the right to pursue financial compensation for pain and suffering after an accident. That is not to say that it is necessarily easy to do so. In order to recover full and fair financial compensation for pain and suffering after a car crash in Alabama, you must establish the defendant’s liability (fault) and the extent of your damages.
Calculating Pain and Suffering After a Car Accident in Alabama
While recovering full and fair compensation for economic damages can be challenging, there is a tangible baseline that you can point to as evidence. For instance, imagine that you incurred $10,000 in medical bills after being hit by a driver who ran a red light in Downtown Birmingham. You could seek full compensation for those medical expenses. The medical bills themselves serve as direct evidence for the cost of your damages. Similarly, there are clear documents that you can present to establish the value of other economic damages, such as vehicle repairs or lost wages.
Non-economic damages—including pain and suffering—are more complex. By definition, these damages are intangible. They do not have a clearly defined value. This raises an important question: How is pain and suffering calculated in Alabama? The answer depends on many factors. Indeed, Alabama does not have a fixed monetary standard for determining pain and suffering in a personal injury case. Instead, courts/juries are instructed to use good judgment and common sense to determine a proper award. Many different methods have been used to try to quantify pain and suffering. Some attorneys suggest the following two general methods, but these are simply two of many approaches:
- Multiplier Method: Courts often use the multiplier method to determine pain and suffering after a car accident in Alabama. To utilize this method, you first need to calculate the value of the victim’s actual economic damages—including medical bills and lost wages. Pain and suffering is then awarded as a multiple of those damages. For instance, if you suffered $7,500 in total economic damages in a car accident and a multiple of ‘2’ is assigned to your case, then your pain and suffering would be $15,000.
- Per Diem Method: Though less common, the per diem method may be used to calculate pain and suffering damages after a car accident in Alabama. With this method, a specific daily dollar value is assigned to the victim’s pain and suffering. For example, a value of $100 a day may be assigned. If the victim suffered 90 days of pain and suffering after a crash, $9,000 would be awarded for pain and suffering.
Car Insurance Claim Tip: Do not give a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster directly after a serious accident. Insurance companies want to resolve claims for as little as possible. They are notorious for undervaluing pain and suffering and other non-economic damages. An experienced Birmingham car accident lawyer will help you navigate the insurance claims process after a crash.
How the Alabama Auto Accident Attorneys at Lewis & Feldman Can Help
After a serious motor vehicle collision in Central Alabama, it is crucial that you have an experienced attorney on your side. Do not go up against the big insurance companies alone. At Lewis & Feldman, LLC, we help injured victims navigate the legal claims process—with a focus on seeking justice and full compensation, including for their pain and suffering. Among other things, our Birmingham car accident attorneys are prepared to:
- Answer your questions and explain the claims process during a free initial consultation;
- Investigate the crash, gathering the evidence needed to establish legal liability;
- Gather your medical records and other information to prove pain and suffering;
- Complete all of the legal paperwork and represent you before the insurance company; and
- Take your car crash claim as far as needed to maximize your recovery for pain and suffering.
Contact Our Birmingham, AL Car Accident Lawyers Today
At Lewis & Feldman, LLC, our Birmingham car accident lawyers are aggressive, results-focused advocates for justice. If you have any questions about recovering compensation for pain and suffering after a car accident, we are here to help. Call us at 205-896-6410 or send us a direct message for a free, no obligation review of your case. With a legal office in Birmingham, we handle motor vehicle accident claims throughout the region, including in Jefferson County, Blount County, Shelby County, Saint Clair County, Cullman County, and Walker County.