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Pain and Suffering: A Real Consequence of Auto Accidents

Posted on July 6, 2015 by Kelly Wolford
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As can be seen and heard in Tracy Morgan’s recent interview on the Today Show, pain and suffering is a very real consequence of auto accidents. Whether you can seek compensation for the pain and suffering you have experienced in a crash in New York, however, depends on many factors.

First, let’s take a closer look at Morgan’s situation.

Back on June 7, 2014, Morgan was seriously injured when a Wal-Mart truck rear-ended the van in which he was riding. Other passengers riding with him also sustained varying degrees of injury. One passenger, comedian James McNair, died in the crash.

The alleged cause of the accident was extreme driver fatigue, as the truck driver reportedly had not slept for at least 24 hours and was reported to have been moving at an excessive rate of speed.

Although Morgan does not recall the accident itself, he told Today that he is very thankful to be alive – especially knowing the devastation the accident caused and the physical injuries he sustained, including a broken leg, multiple broken ribs and traumatic brain injuries that left him in a coma for days.

His recovery continues to be a long and arduous process – not only physically but emotionally as well. Having suffered the loss of his good friend and mentor in the same accident, Morgan described his pain in the Today interview.

“Bones heal,” he said, “but the loss of my friend will never heal.”

Morgan’s experience reflects how car accident victims experience extreme levels of emotional anguish and pain, which can be just as serious as their physical injuries.

Although nothing can ever “undo” an accident or erase the horror of being involved in one, some victims may be able to seek compensation in a car accident claim.

Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering in New York?

New York Law allows victims to pursue compensation beyond no-fault insurance for accident-related pain and suffering so long as they have suffered “serious injury.” In other words, injury that has resulted in:

  • Death
  • Dismemberment
  • Significant disfigurement
  • Fracture
  • Loss of a fetus
  • Permanent loss of a body organ, member, system or function
  • Permanent consequential limited used of a body organ or member
  • Significant limitation of use to a body function or system
  • A non-permanent, mentally-determined injury or impairment which prevents you from being able to perform acts usual and customary to your daily routine for no less than 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the date the injury was sustained.

How Do You Prove Pain and Suffering?

When referring to the term “pain and suffering,” we are talking about not only physical pain and injuries but mental trauma and emotional distress as well.

Individuals who have sustained broken bones, back injuries, head injuries or any other injuries in an accident can seek damages to cover medical expenses and other accident-related costs.

When an individual suffers from anxiety, depression, guilt, frustration, insomnia or loss of consortium as a result of that accident, he or she may also qualify for pain and suffering damages.

Evidence which can be used to prove pain and suffering may include:

  • Evaluations or narratives from a licensed counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist or physician describing your mental health condition.
  • Letters from loved ones, co-workers or friends describing what they have observed of your emotional state or mental condition since the crash.
  • Personal journals detailing your feelings and the struggles you have endured since the accident.
  • Medical diagnoses, treatments and prescriptions you have received since the accident, including those directly aimed at helping you to combat depression, insomnia or other symptoms.

The auto accident attorneys of Powers & Santola, LLP, understand the trauma and challenges accident victims and their families often face following a car accident. We know you may have numerous obstacles to overcome. We can work hard to help you seek just compensation for the harm you have suffered. To find out more about what our firm can do for you, contact us today.