When a child is seriously injured in a car accident, the entire family suffers financially and emotionally. You can be compensated for short- and long-term medical costs as well as missing work to help your child recover. But the trauma of an accident can inflict pain and suffering that includes mental anguish, loss of quality of life, and an inability for your child to socialize and develop normally. Determining a fair child pain and suffering settlement then becomes a major goal of your lawsuit.
What Is Meant by Pain and Suffering?
Pain is a reference to the physical discomfort one feels after injury due to an impact, burn, or scarring. Surgery and physical therapy can contribute to pain as well. Any accident can be traumatic and terrifying, especially for a young child. This is the suffering component, which refers to emotional distress, inconvenience, and disruption caused by injuries. An example is when a child must miss school while in the hospital or receiving physical therapy.
Factors that Affect a Pain and Suffering Claim
Unlike damages to compensate for medical care or property damage, pain and suffering can’t be calculated by adding up bills. The monetary amount requested is therefore often subjective. But there are several factors a personal injury attorney will analyze to determine a fair child pain and suffering settlement. These may include:
- Injury Severity: Traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord trauma, and nerve damage can take a long time to heal and often have permanent effects. Head trauma can lead to permanent impairments while nerve damage can lead to pain and even paralysis. Bone fractures, which involve significant pain and healing time in children, can increase the value of a settlement.
- Length of Recovery: In general, the longer the victim’s recovery period, the higher the value of a settlement. The impacts of pain and suffering over time can have cumulative effects on a child’s quality of life. Struggles lasting months or even years can result in prolonged challenges in making friends, keeping up in school, and enjoying life.
- Mental Health: A mental health disorder, such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), can emerge even after a minor car crash. Such issues can affect how your child interacts with others and may even impact their grades. Their overall mental and emotional development can be affected as well, which is often difficult to recover from.
- Type of Treatment: Prolonged emotional and psychological trauma can require ongoing counseling and therapy. Some therapies may require long-term or even residential treatment, in which a child must remain in a facility to receive the care they need. Medication may be prescribed to address psychological issues. All these can factor into a pain and suffering settlement or the overall claim.
Determining Liability in a Child Pain and Suffering Settlement
To receive pain and suffering damages, you must establish liability. To prove a defendant is liable for these damages, you need to show they owed a duty of care. A driver, for example, has a duty to operate their vehicle safely. Next, a breach of duty must be shown; if a driver wasn’t paying attention, it can be claimed they were negligent.
Another aspect of determining liability is causation. A specific instance of negligence or a careless act must be the exact cause of your child’s injury. Measurable damages must be involved as well. Before you can claim pain and suffering, it must be shown that your child suffered physical harm that involves quantifiable costs; then you can pursue intangible losses.
Contact the Law Offices of Jacob Emrani
Pursuing a child pain and suffering settlement can be a stressful and uncertain time. Our personal injury attorneys can evaluate your case for free and have the experience to seek damages that fairly compensate for your child’s pain and suffering. Familiar with California law and how insurance companies operate, we’ll aggressively pursue your settlement, and you don’t pay us until we win. To get started, call 888-952-2952 today.