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When do car crash injury payouts include pain and suffering?
Injury payouts for car accidents may include pain and suffering in certain instances. Whether pain and suffering can and should be factored into your car accident settlement or payout is going to depend on a few different factors:
One key factor in whether you will be able to collect damages for pain and suffering is the rule your state law has made on the issue. In all but 12 states, the person who was actually responsible for causing the accident (the at fault party) has to pay the consequences of it. In other words, if he or she does something that is negligent and that results in an accident, then he/she (or, probably more accurately, his insurance company) then he recompenses you for damages... including pain and suffering.
However, in 12 states, the rules are different. These twelve states, referred to under the legal term "no fault" states, have instituted rules requiring the purchase of a special kind of insurance. The insurance - called personal injury protection or simply PIP- is designed to provide coverage for anyone injured in a car accident, even if he or she was at fault for the injuries himself. Under PIP rules, each party has to make a claim for damages to his or her own insurer. The catch is the claim is limited to medical bills and lost wages... there's no payment for pain and suffering. The only time that a person may sue within one of these 12 no fault/PIP states is if the injuries are so serious that the law defines them as such and grants an exception.
The other key factor in determining whether your car crash payment is going to include pain and suffering is the question of fault. If the other party was responsible, then his insurance company will be paying and you can negotiate a settlement that includes pain and suffering, or you can go to court where the jury will consider your pain when awarding damages. However, if you yourself was responsible for the accident, your own insurer is not going to pay you damages for pain and suffering.
To understand what is likely to occur in your particular situation and for guidance on whether you may be able to collect damages for pain and suffering, you should consult with an attorney in your home state.
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