“Was my car accident really serious enough to justify filing a formal claim? Could I even get compensation for it? Is pain and suffering awarded for minor car accidents?”
If you find yourself asking these questions, you’re like millions of injured drivers in Ohio who have asked exactly the same questions before.
The insurance companies would love for accident victims to believe that no injury is ever “bad enough” to bother filing a claim over. In fact, in the past, some insurance companies have even tried to stigmatize victims who pursued injury claims over non-catastrophic accidents.
But the truth is that any auto accident has the capacity to disrupt your life and cause you pain. Personal injury law is set up for that very reason: to compensate you for the pain, suffering, injuries, hassles, and hardships that you should not have incurred.
If the accident was caused by someone else’s negligence (for example, speeding or texting while driving), you deserve to be compensated.
In today’s article, we’re taking a look at victims’ rights to financial compensation under Ohio personal injury law… even when the accident is a relatively minor one.
But let’s begin with that word — “minor” — and why it doesn’t always mean what you think it means.
Minor Car Accidents Aren’t Always So “Minor”
There is no such thing as a set of laws for “minor” accidents and a different set of laws for “bad” accidents.
If you have been injured in an auto accident in Ohio and someone else’s careless driving is to blame, then you are entitled to financial compensation for your damages, including your pain and suffering damages.
The reality is that minor car accidents can (and often do) lead to moderate-to-serious physical injuries, which in turn cause serious disruption to the victim’s life.
For example, a mother who is rear-ended at only five miles per hour may suffer a fractured bone in her shoulder and intensive whiplash in the soft tissues around her neck. Most people would call this a “minor” accident because it happened at such a low speed, with minimal damage to the vehicle itself. But your body is more vulnerable than a vehicle, and your personal injury rights aren’t determined by how much property damage was done.
The injured mother in this hypothetical situation might miss weeks of work while seeing multiple doctors and even considering surgery. She might be unable to care for her small children or to enjoy their company and affection in the way she normally would. She might endure significant stress, anxiety, and mental anguish. These are real injuries, and they deserve compensation.
What Is Pain and Suffering, Exactly?
Generally speaking, compensation after a car accident falls into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are those with a clear financial basis: medical bills, vehicle repair costs, lost wages, etc. Non-economic damages are more emotional or subjective in nature.
“Pain and suffering” is a type of non-economic damage that is intended to compensate the victim for the emotional impact of a physical injury. Examples of pain and suffering damages include:
- Emotional distress
- The physical experience of pain
- Mental suffering caused by physical pain
- Fear, worry, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress (e.g. PTSD)
- Sleep disturbances / insomnia
- Loss of affection
- Loss of sexual function
- Public embarrassment
- Diminished quality of life
Is Pain and Suffering Awarded for Minor Car Accidents in Ohio?
Almost every injury causes some degree of pain and suffering. It comes as no surprise, then, that pain and suffering damages are a common part of personal injury claims in Ohio.
Anyone who has experienced a low-speed collision followed by months of pain and recovery can tell you that pain and suffering is no joke.
So, is pain and suffering awarded for minor car accidents in Ohio? Generally speaking, yes, it certainly can be. In fact, pain and suffering damages are sometimes the single biggest part of an auto accident victim’s recovery.
That said, every single car accident is different. Pain and suffering damages are never a guarantee. There may be some accidents where the facts simply do not support a pain and suffering award. For that reason, you should never make assumptions about your rights. Talk to an experienced Columbus auto accident lawyer instead.
Limits on Pain and Suffering Awards in Ohio
There are limits on pain and suffering damages in Ohio. For example:
- Non-economic damages (including pain and suffering) cannot exceed $250,000 or three times the amount of economic damages, whichever is greater.
- Non-economic damages can never exceed $350,000 per person or $500,000 per occurrence.
- Non-economic damages must be reasonable. They cannot be excessive or unsupported by the facts.
These same limits apply to most car accident cases in Ohio (though an exception may apply to cases with catastrophic injuries, which may allow for larger pain and suffering awards). An experienced Columbus auto accident lawyer can help you determine how much pain and suffering might be available for a claim like yours.
Schedule a Cost-Free, No-Obligation Legal Consultation in Ohio
Have you been injured in an auto accident in Ohio? Are you still experiencing pain, depression, or emotional distress weeks after the accident, even though the vehicle damage wasn’t especially severe?
You may still have a claim for compensation under Ohio personal injury law, which may include a claim for pain and suffering damages. Indeed, such claims are common. Please do not assume that you don’t have a case without consulting an experienced Columbus auto accident lawyer first.
Colombo Law is an experienced personal injury law firm proudly serving car accident victims all across the state of Ohio, not only in Columbus but also in Chillicothe, Circleville, Heath, Hebron, Lancaster, New Lexington, Newark, Pataskala, Westerville, and beyond.
Contact Colombo Law and schedule a free case review with our Columbus auto accident lawyers today.
To get started, call 888-860-1414 (614-362-7000 in Columbus) or simply contact us online.