When a driver’s negligence caused you to suffer serious injuries in a car accident, he may be responsible for compensating you for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
The pain and suffering portion of your claim could be a large part of what you receive in a settlement. So it's crucial to your financial recovery to understand how these damages are classified and how they're calculated.
What Is Pain and Suffering in Car Accident Claims?
Compensation is usually awarded for the following:
- Physical pain and suffering. This is the actual physical pain caused in the accident and is a result of the victim’s injuries. Restitution may be awarded for both past and future pain and suffering, especially if long-term injuries cause someone to experience chronic pain.
- Mental pain and suffering. This includes mental anguish and emotional distress a person battles with as a result of his injuries and the limitations they cause in his life. Victims can experience anger, depression, loss of enjoyment of life, anxiety, and other psychological problems as a result of a car accident. In severe cases, someone may also deal with post-traumatic stress disorder. Both past and future mental pain and suffering damages can be recovered in a settlement.
How Are Pain and Suffering Damages Calculated?
Because pain and suffering damages are often not based on any out-of-pocket expenses, accurate valuation can be difficult. In some cases, an insurance company may use a multiplier of the victim’s medical expenses and wage loss to assign a value to this portion of the claim. The multiplier can be between 1.5 and 4 times the value of medical and wage loss expenses. Other insurance companies use a computer program to value pain and suffering damages.
However, a multiplier or computer program may not be accurate, and many factors determine how much you should receive for pain and suffering. The severity of your injuries; how much emotional distress you endured; and whether you'll be a strong witness are some of the factors that influence the damages award.
If you're filing an auto crash claim, you need the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney to determine how much compensation you deserve for pain and suffering. He can also help you obtain the necessary evidence to support this portion of your claim.
To learn more about your legal options and how our firm can help, fill out our online form to schedule your free case evaluation.