How Much Is Pain and Suffering Worth for a Motorcycle Accident?

Motorcyclists suffering injuries in an accident that wasn’t their fault are entitled to full and fair compensation. A significant part of this compensation is for the physical and emotional pain and suffering they endure due to their injuries and the experience of the accident.

Suppose you or someone you love was recently a motorcycle accident victim. In that case, hiring a seasoned motorcycle accident attorney is in your best interest. Your attorney can help you assess your damages and determine how much your pain and suffering might be worth in an motorcycle accident. In addition, they can stand up to the insurance company on your behalf to ensure you receive fair compensation through a negotiated settlement or a court-ordered injury award.

Types of Damages in a Motorcycle Accident Claim

In one recent year, 83,000 motorcycle accident injuries took place. The injury rate per 100,000 registered motorcycles was 992, with 17,632 million miles traveled and an injury rate of 468 per 100 million miles traveled.

After suffering injuries in those motorcycle accidents, victims may pursue economic damages (such as medical expenses and lost wages) and non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering or loss of consortium).

While economic damages, also known as special damages, can have an exact dollar amount, you must calculate pain and suffering separately and use different methods to do so. There are a couple of different ways to calculate pain and suffering from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident.

What is Pain and Suffering in a Motorcycle Accident?How Much Is Pain and Suffering Worth for a Motorcycle Accident?

“Pain and suffering” is a legal term for ways injuries impact victims’ lives. It accounts for physical, mental, and emotional suffering. However, you can’t claim pain and suffering damages without having suffered a bodily injury in the accident. If you claim pain and suffering, it must accompany a bodily injury claim.

Depending on the specifics of your injury and accident, pain and suffering damages can include:

  • Physical pain
  • Scarring or disfigurement
  • Fear or worry
  • Embarrassment
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Mental anguish
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Insomnia or other sleep issues

Most motorcycle accident claims can potentially recover damages for pain and suffering. However, receiving compensation for these things can be complex since there is no standard or pre-determined dollar amount for things like embarrassment or insomnia. Therefore, you and your motorcycle accident attorney need to calculate what these damages are worth.

A personal injury claim is supposed to make you whole again as much as possible. Money is the only avenue the legal system has to make up for your suffering. Obviously, money won’t erase what has happened to you because of the accident; it often helps injured parties cover their expenses and move on with their lives as much as possible.

Calculating Pain and Suffering Is Different Than Calculating Economic Damages

Calculating pain and suffering damages doesn’t follow a specific formula or algorithm. If you have pain and suffering damages, it’s crucial to hire a motorcycle accident lawyer who can help you estimate their value. This will help you understand how much to seek as a settlement in your motorcycle accident claim.

Calculating your economic damages is often straightforward as you generally just need to account for all your bills, invoices, receipts, and estimated future expenses related to your accident. However, how can you put a price on something abstract and subjective, like physical pain or mental anguish? It’s nearly impossible, but you must do so in this situation. To do so, motorcycle accident lawyers usually rely on one of two different methods.

Methods to Calculate Pain and Suffering Damages in a Motorcycle Accident Case

Attorneys often need to think more like an insurance claims adjuster when valuing your pain and suffering. Unfortunately, it’s not a simple process like calculating special damages.

Even though your attorney might use two common methods to calculate non-economic damages, the insurance adjuster might use their methods and argue for them. If this occurs, your motorcycle accident lawyer must consider common methods and be well-versed in why they are better to make you whole than the insurance adjuster’s methods. These two methods are known as the multiplier and the per diem methods.

The Multiplier Method for Calculating Pain and Suffering

Using this method, your economic damages are combined and multiplied by a number. This number can be higher or lower depending on the severity, type, and pain level of your injuries. The sum you’d reach by multiplying the two numbers will be the total value of your pain and suffering damages.

You’re likely to have a lower multiplier if you:

  • Sustained only soft tissue injuries, including sprains, muscle strains, ligament pulls, and bruising
  • Had higher expenses for medical diagnosis than those for medical treatment
  • Sought treatment from people who aren’t doctors, such as assistant therapists or chiropractors
  • Needed only a few medical visits and didn’t need any prescription medications
  • Can return to your everyday life after a short period
  • Don’t have any permanent injuries, loss of use, or visible scars
  • Didn’t need extra help caring for yourself

In cases that involve a higher multiplier, one or more of the following usually exists:

  • Broken bones or injuries to the hard tissues of your body or nerve or spine damage
  • Joint injuries, especially those that require surgery or reconstruction
  • Either short-term or long-term medications are necessary
  • The need for many follow-up appointments or injuries that require an extended recovery time
  • Medical costs that are more for treatment than for diagnosis
  • Permanent loss of at least one body part or function, scarring, or permanent disfigurement
  • Injuries that impact daily life cause you to depend on others in ways you didn’t before or cause you to miss important things such as school, vacations, recreational activities, or hobbies.

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The Per Diem Method for Calculating Pain and Suffering

The second method of pain and suffering damage calculation, the per diem method, assigns a specific amount of money to each day starting on the day of the motorcycle accident and up through the day you reach maximum medical recovery. In this scenario, the severity of your injuries will also help identify the daily per diem rate.

The per diem method uses your daily pre-accident income as a base figure for calculations. Unfortunately, this makes it more challenging to use, especially for long-term injuries. The multiplier method is usually the best for motorcycle accident clients, but not always.

How Insurance Companies Calculate Payment for Pain and Suffering

Insurance carriers typically use a computer program to calculate pain and suffering damages for motorcycle accident victims. Their program might consider your injuries plus the type of treatment you received. Insurance carriers don’t have to use either of the two methods mentioned above to calculate pain and suffering damages in a motorcycle accident case.

Insurance carriers will also look at details of your treatment, such as how long you received it and what type of medical professional you saw. If they think your treatment details don’t match up with your injuries, they will try to decrease what they must pay you in compensation.

In fact, they might reduce it significantly. For example, some accident victims may receive an offer of tens of thousands of dollars below what their claim is worth. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney’s help early on in your case is invaluable for this and many other reasons.

Proving Pain and Suffering in a Motorcycle Accident Case

You have a right to pursue compensation for your damages after a motorcycle accident, which is usually detailed and upheld by your state’s statutes. However, to obtain pain and suffering damages, you or your motorcycle accident attorney must establish your damages as best you can.

Proving Economic Damages

You can prove economic damages such as your medical costs and lost wages with documentation like medical bills, wage statements, and pay stubs, but that’s not the case with pain and suffering.

Proving Pain and Suffering Damages

You and your motorcycle accident attorney must gather evidence showing how the accident has affected your life.

Examples of potentially valuable evidence include:

  • Personal journals, diaries, records, or notes expressing how you were feeling both physically and emotionally and what you were experiencing
  • Documentation or testimony from friends or family members about how your injuries have impacted your everyday life and your enjoyment of it
  • Proof of mental health treatment for mental health issues like depression, anxiety, or PTSD you experienced because of the accident and your resulting injuries

Your motorcycle accident attorney will know the best types of information, documents, and other evidence to collect in support of your claim for pain and suffering damages. They can also calculate how much they’re worth so that you know the value of your claim.

What Are Damage Caps?

Damage caps are legal limits on non-economic damages that apply to people seeking compensation for a personal injury. Every state has its own laws about damage caps, and some don’t have any at all.

For example:

  • Florida does not have any damage caps on non-economic damages (only punitive damages)
  • Tennessee has a $750,000 damage cap for non-economic damages
  • Hawaii has a $375,000 cap that only applies to pain and suffering
  • California and New York are additional state without damages caps

Suppose you live in a state with damage caps. In that case, your recovery for non-economic damages, including pain and suffering, can’t exceed that amount. If your state has no cap, you can claim the full extent of your pain and suffering.

What if Your Claim Settles?

Most motorcycle accident injury claims settle before the trial stage; some even settle immediately before or at trial. It’s likely that yours will also settle. When settling a claim, there are many benefits to the injured and at-fault parties.

For example, settlements are:

  • Less expensive as there are no continued legal and court costs
  • A way to resolve the claim faster than going to court
  • A better way to control the outcome of the claim
  • Less of a hassle
  • A good way to avoid personal information being in a permanent legal record

Your motorcycle accident attorney can work with you and the opposing party’s legal counsel to reach a settlement accurately representing your damages—including your pain and suffering. Just because your case settles out of court doesn’t mean you forgo or forfeit your rights to damages for pain and suffering. You receive those damages through your settlement and how much you settled for is at your discretion.

However, it’s best to listen to your attorney about when and if you should settle your claim. Your lawyer knows how motorcycle accident claims like yours are worth in your jurisdiction and how likely it is that the insurance company may increase their offer before you have to head to trial.

Factors that can impact your injury claim settlement include:

  • The insurance policies of the at-fault party or parties
  • If there were multiple victims or at-fault parties
  • If a hit-and-run driver hits you
  • Precedence in similar cases
  • If you can return to work or not
  • How much evidence is available in support of your claim

Contact a Seasoned Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today

Sustaining injuries in a motorcycle accident typically entitles victims to compensation for their medical bills, other economic costs, and pain and suffering. Victims usually receive more compensation when they hire a lawyer who can help stand up for their rights and negotiate a fair settlement.

Contact a seasoned motorcycle accident attorney from Boohoff Law today to learn more about what your motorcycle accident pain and suffering damages are worth.

October 12, 2022
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