After a car accident occurs, many victims pursue claims with the at-fault party’s insurance or their own insurance. If this does not work, the case must be taken to court if you want to recover fair compensation. An important component of car accident claim damages is the non-economic damages.
These damages relate to non-tangible losses that cannot be easily quantified. This may leave you questioning how non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, are accurately calculated. Well, the process involves analyzing a range of factors to determine the level of monetary damages you deserve as compensation for short and long-term pain and suffering.
If you want a more detailed estimate of what you stand to recover through a car accident claim, speak with a car accident lawyer immediately.
What Is Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering is defined by physical and emotional trauma that is experienced by an individual due to the injuries they sustained in an accident. For example, if a car crash results in a severe back injury that keeps you from performing certain tasks, there is likely to be significant suffering associated with that loss of ability. The trauma related to the accident may even keep you up at night, decreasing your ability to live a happy life.
Pain and suffering is normally applied in cases where injuries are severe. This is especially the case for injuries that cause physical and psychological damage that will persist for one’s entire life. Through a car accident claim, you stand to recover significant compensation for pain and suffering if you suffered major injuries.
That is why it is important to learn exactly how pain and suffering is calculated in a typical car accident claim.
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What Qualifies as Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering is not a very specific legal term. Though, it does specifically apply to several manifestations of pain and suffering experienced by car accident victims. Some of these manifestations include:
- Direct pain or discomfort caused by accident-related injuries
- Pain and discomfort that arises indirectly due to medical treatment that is needed to treat one’s accident-related injuries
- Inability to sleep
- Loss of ability to engage in a fruitful social or family life
- Loss of ability to engage in hobbies
While there is no overarching methodology used to decide whether these experiences have manifested in a victim, a lawyer will help you articulate what you are feeling so that a proper estimate can be made.
What Is Used to Calculate Pain and Suffering?
Insurance companies and courts use a number of factors to determine how much pain and suffering needs to be accounted for in a claim. Here is how pain and suffering is decided:
Reviewing Medical Documentation
Getting medical attention following a car accident is crucial. If you choose not to, there will not be any documentation showing the extent of your injuries. Not going to the doctor also implies that you are not experiencing significant pain, a detail that can easily be used against you during car accident claim negotiations.
Even if you have not seen a doctor yet, you can still see one soon to ensure that your injuries are treated and well-documented. While it will not be as effective as if you went immediately, getting some form of documentation as soon as possible is critical.
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Assessing the Total Damages Associated with Pain and Suffering
It is not easy to put a monetary value on an individual’s pain and suffering. There are several methods that may be used to identify what level of pain and suffering you experienced. One of them is the multiplier method, the other is the per diem method. Here is more about each one:
When using this method, lawyers and insurance companies take the total amount of economic damages and then multiply it by a number between 1.5 and 5. Which number is used as the multiplier depends on the level of pain and suffering you are experiencing from your injuries.
Generally, more severe injuries warrant higher multipliers. For example, someone who suffered severe injuries that led to paralysis would likely use a higher multiplier such as 4 or 5. Someone who had minor injuries, like a broken wrist, would use a number closer to 1.5 as the multiplier.
Per Diem Method
The per diem method is a more rarely used method that simply applies a dollar value to each day of pain and suffering experienced by the victim. Usually, the dollar value equates to what that person would make in a single day of work. To determine how much pain and suffering is valued at, the dollar value of a day’s damages is multiplied by the number of days someone has experienced or is expected to experience pain and suffering related to their injuries.
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Do You Need to File a Lawsuit to Claim Compensation for Pain and Suffering?
Most car accident claims end with an insurance settlement. This means you may not need to file an actual lawsuit or go to court. Though, it is sometimes necessary to take your claim to the next level by filing a lawsuit.
Insurance companies will often do their best to avoid a costly lawsuit that they may not win. Yet, if you cannot reach a settlement, you will need to file a lawsuit to claim compensation for the pain and suffering you are experiencing due to a car accident. Fortunately, filing a lawsuit may put pressure on insurance companies, moving them to offer a fair settlement rather than engaging in the time-consuming process of battling a lawsuit.
Take the First Step Towards Claiming Compensation for Your Pain and Suffering
If your injuries have caused lasting damage that has negatively impacted your ability to enjoy life, you deserve compensation for those losses. Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC can help you fight for fair compensation. When necessary, our firm is also committed to fighting for your rights in court.
We have a long track record of success in personal injury cases, so trust us to provide you with a fair outcome. You can schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers by submitting the contact form located on this page.