Pain and Suffering Hit By Drunk Driver

Any car accident is a stressful and nerve-wracking experience, but being hit by a drunk driver often brings another level of frustration, struggle and pain and suffering. Most courts will recognize this fact, and not many judges or juries will have sympathy for a drunk driver. Pain and suffering is one route to take when considering your legal options in the event of being hit by a drunk driver in order to collect the rightful damages that may be owed to you.

Pain and Suffering Cases

What is Pain and Suffering?

In addition to damages owed for medical expenses related to car accidents, pain and suffering is another option for accident victims. Legally speaking, pain and suffering is mental or physical distress that can be awarded damages in a lawsuit. Relevant damages are assessed based on type and gravity of injury and pain suffered and medical prognosis for future pain resulting from the injury or injuries. Although several states approach and define what falls under pain and suffering differently, mental and emotional injury stemming from the injury can also be assessed. Stress and anxiety are two examples that often fall under pain and suffering in a lawsuit. Oregon law recognizes pain and suffering for physical and emotional damages, although proving emotional damages may take a bit more legwork than medical and rehabilitation bills for physical injuries.

pain and suffering hit by drunk driver

Proving Pain and Suffering from Being Hit by Drunk Driver

In order to adequately prove your pain and suffering in a lawsuit, you’ll need to collect and keep as much documentation relating to the accident and subsequent injury as possible. Medical files and bills are particularly important for this, as well as prescription notes and receipts. If you visit a counselor, therapist or other service provider for emotional pain and suffering after the car accident, keep correspondence, files and bills from these providers as well. Photos and medical reports of physical injuries, and proof of time and wages lost as a result will also support your claim in court.

Keep in mind that there is a statute of limitations on claims. In Oregon, claims and lawsuits based on personal injury must be filed within two years. However, you’ll definitely want to file as soon as possible in order to prepare for the lengthy court process. Here’s the relevant text from the Oregon Revised Statutes, Volume 1, Chapter 12.

“An action for assault, battery, false imprisonment, or for any injury to the person or rights of another, not arising on contract, and not especially enumerated in this chapter, shall be commenced within two years; provided, that in an action at law based upon fraud or deceit, the limitation shall be deemed to commence only from the discovery of the fraud or deceit.”

Hit by Drunk Driver

Steps to Take After Being Hit by Drunk Driver

It may take a few days for the full effects of personal injury to become apparent after an accident. Regardless of your symptoms, it’s important to make sure you have accurate record of the incident in case personal injury symptoms arise or get worse after the accident occurs. Collecting records will help you and your lawyer build your case, and you can never start this process too early.

Some steps to take after being hit by a drunk driver:

  • Take pictures of your vehicle and any injuries
  • Collect a copy of the police report
  • Collect a copy of the medical report or notes after visiting a provider
  • Collect the other drivers insurance information, and notify your insurance company
  • Keep a file with all accident related proof and documentation

If you wish to proceed with a lawsuit, retain a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your options and receive guidance on the process. One detail that most lawyers will stress in a personal injury claim involving pain and suffering from being hit by a drunk driver is not to immediately settle. Although damages don’t vary according to whether a car accident occurred with or without a drunk driver, insurance companies are aware that an accident involving a drunk driver will not garner much sympathy in court and are often willing to pay out higher amounts because of this.

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