While you will feel every moment of physical and emotional pain after a car accident, how can you translate those feelings into dollar amounts and ensure you are fairly compensated? The process is tricky, and the amount you receive depends on multiple factors.
To get justice for your suffering, put this process in the hands of a skilled car accident lawyer from GKBM. With decades of experience representing car accident victims and securing substantial settlements for them, our team is well prepared to build a case to get you the compensation your pain and suffering demands.
Pain and Suffering Are Non-Economic Damages
When someone else’s negligence causes a car accident that leaves you with injuries and losses, you can hold the at-fault party accountable for paying you compensation. Compensation typically covers both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are those that come with financial costs. For example, medical expenses, lost income, property damage, and any other costs you face because of the accident or injuries are economic damages.
Non-economic damages are those that do not come with an actual bill or easily measured financial cost. These damages account for the pain and suffering you have and may continue to experience because of the accident and its consequences.
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What Falls Under “Pain and Suffering?”
Any non-tangible accident-related effects on your life fall into the category of pain and suffering. Though every victim’s situation is unique, pain and suffering commonly refers to:
- Emotional trauma: You may experience a sense of isolation if you cannot interact with others as you once did. You may struggle to come to terms with your changed abilities and simply grieve for your lost previous physical state.
- Psychological distress: Car accidents can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or you may develop anxiety about your current and future situations or experience depression.
- Physical pain: Your pain is worthy of acknowledgment, and the one who caused it must provide that acknowledgment.
- Scarring: Your physical appearance may be changed by the accident through scarring or other disfigurements.
- Sleep disturbances: The combined effects of your accident may lead to insomnia, night terrors, or other sleep problems.
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How Much to Expect from Compensation for Pain and Suffering
Multiple factors affect how much you receive for your pain and suffering, and since the factors of each case are different, there is no predictable “average” amount. Because calculating the value of these damages is a complex process, one of the most important factors within your control is securing representation from a skilled car accident lawyer who will ensure your pain and suffering is appropriately valued.
The scope of your injuries is a major factor in determining your settlement amount. Your attorney will consider how serious the injuries are, how much pain you experience, the types and extent of the treatment you require, and other ways the injuries have affected your life.
For example, you may not be able to work and earn or live independently.
Method of Calculating
For most personal injury claims, one of two methods is used to calculate the value of pain and suffering.
- Multiplier Method: The amount of your economic damages is multiplied by a number between 1.5 and 5, so for example, if your economic damages total $50,000 and the multiplier used is “4” your compensation for pain and suffering is $200,000. The greater the scope of your injuries, the higher the multiplier used.
- Per Diem Method: The “worth” or amount of suffering you experience in a day drives this method. Your attorney will consider your wages lost and level of pain for each day, and other elements to put a dollar amount on your daily suffering, the amount of which is multiplied by the number of days it takes for your injuries to heal.
Though these processes may seem straightforward, remember that insurance companies will fight to use lower multipliers or argue for lower “per diem” calculations. Sometimes, companies fight to use their own methods for valuing your pain and suffering, and you can count on those methods to work only in the insurance company’s favor. An experienced car accident attorney will know which method is best for your case and will fight to ensure the settlement provides justice for your pain and suffering.
Your Degree of Fault
The at-fault party will take measures to put the blame for the accident on you. In Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee, victims’ compensation is lowered in proportion to the percentage of fault they bear for the accident. If you hold 20% of the fault for the accident, you receive 20% less, or 80%, of the total calculated amount.
Of course, it helps insurance companies’ bottom line if you own a higher percentage of fault. Do not give them any opportunities to twist your words into admissions of fault or as “evidence” that you really are not suffering too badly. For example, your automatic and conversational “Doing okay–and you?” to an insurance adjuster’s “How are you?” can be used against you.
A car accident attorney will handle all communication and negotiation with the at-fault party’s representatives, so you do not have to worry about watching your words and having your settlement unfairly reduced.
Arkansas does not limit the amount victims can collect for non-economic damages. In Mississippi, the cap is $1,000,000, except for cases involving medical malpractice, where the cap is $500,000. In Tennessee, the cap is $750,000.
However, there are exceptions to these caps. The Tennessee cap is exempted for victims who have sustained severe burns, amputations, or spinal cord injuries. Other times exceptions apply if the defendant acted with intent.
A knowledgeable car accident attorney will fight to make sure any exceptions applying to your case are upheld,
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Your Pain and Suffering Deserve Acknowledgment
The pain and suffering you endure after an accident should never be underestimated or dismissed. Insurance companies will try to diminish your pain and emotional trauma, but a car accident lawyer from GKBM will work to hold the at-fault party accountable for every dollar’s worth of suffering you experience. Your lawyer will evaluate your situation with great care, being certain to recognize the reach of your pain and the effects of your distress, and will not stop fighting until justice is served.