According to the CDC, motor vehicle accidents are a major concern for public safety, resulting in roughly three million non-fatal injuries each year. From the fatalities and injuries that result from such crashes, the loss in productivity plus medical care costs amounts to tens of billions of dollars in costs to the individuals involved.
As a victim of a car accident, you may seek damages to ease this financial burden. Along with compensation for medical costs, damage to your vehicle, and lost income, you may also qualify for pain and suffering compensation.
While your friends and family may be quick to tell you how much you deserve, their estimates are often inaccurate. This is because even if two accidents involve similar injuries, each case is unique and only a qualified car accident attorney can properly guide you through the process of seeking compensation in your particular case.
There is no clear formula for calculating the value of pain and suffering after an accident. However, there are some factors that courts and insurance companies consider when awarding damages in car accident cases.
- The extent of your injuries;
- Your past and likely future medical bills; and
- The wages you have lost as a result of the accident.
Have you been involved in a car accident that resulted in injuries along with pain and suffering? If so, you deserve compensation. Read on to learn more about compensation for pain and suffering after motor vehicle accidents.
What Is Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering is not just limited to the physical pain you feel after sustaining injuries. It also accounts for the mental distress you endure after an accident.
For instance, if a person is involved in an accident that results in spinal cord injuries, they may feel a lot of pain. Along with that pain, they may also suffer emotional distress due to the major change in life circumstances that comes with a severe injury. When a court or an insurance company is considering what to offer the injury victim in compensation, they will account for both types of distress.
Since attaching a dollar amount to pain and suffering is not straightforward, it is often very challenging to determine fair pain and suffering compensation. Besides, both methods can seriously undervalue and trivialize your pain and suffering, so you will want a car accident lawyer to make sure the insurance company doesn’t shortchange you.
Compensation for Pain and Suffering
Insurance providers use varying methods to calculate the value of pain and suffering. Some use a software program that considers the injuries and other factors to calculate pain and suffering.
Two common methods are:
1. Multiplier Method
In many cases, insurers will use the multiplier method to determine the value of an accident victim’s pain and suffering. The figure used for the multiplier depends on the extent of the victim’s injuries but you should always consult a lawyer to get the appropriate compensation for your injuries. Don’t let the multiplier factor sway you or confuse you after an injury.
Insurance providers are in business to make money, and generally refuse to concede to compensation demands. This is why they use software, which usually undervalues claims.
2. The “Per Diem” Method
Another method that your legal representative and insurers may use to calculate pain and suffering is the “per diem” method. This method uses a daily rate for each day that you suffer from the accident’s effects to arrive at a total value. Calculations allegedly take into account the lost wages, medical costs, and pain and suffering.
For example, if you make $25,000 annually (roughly $100 a day assuming the number of working days in a year is 250) and your injuries keep you out of work for 30 days, you will receive $3,000. If you need treatment for injuries and pain for a total of 120 days, you will receive $12,000 as compensation for pain and suffering.
Why You Should Document Pain and Suffering, Not Insurance Companies
As you now know, determining a value for pain and suffering is difficult. One thing to know is that pain is personal. Two individuals with identical injuries may experience very different levels of pain and suffering.
Such variations may account for:
- Underlying medical conditions;
- Physical fitness; and
- Many other factors.
Since your pain is unique to you, you are the only person who can fully understand your pain and suffering. Therefore, it is your responsibility to try to convey your experience the best you can to your car accident lawyer and those who will evaluate your claim. The best way to do this is by documenting all your experiences starting from the time you sustain the injuries.
Create daily records of the pain and suffering and how it has affected your life and the lives of your loved ones. These records will serve as excellent reminders when you share your story.
Some of the details you should note include:
- The pain and suffering you go through immediately after the accident;
- Discomfort from medical procedures including therapy, injections, and surgical interventions;
- Limitations in your daily life;
- Shortcomings in pain management;
- How pain limits you; and
- How pain affects intimacy with your partner.
Seek Legal Counsel
Depending on the severity of your injuries, your life may never be the same. Unfortunately, in such situations, an insurance companies’ primary objective is still to pay out as little as possible.
To protect yourself and your loved ones, get the compensation you deserve. Considering the complexities of filing and negotiating an insurance claim, it is in your best interests to hire a car accident attorney to help you through this process.
Wondering how much your pain and suffering are worth? Reach out to an experienced car accident lawyer for a free consultation.