Car accidents can cause more than just physical injuries. They can also affect your mental and emotional well-being, as well as your quality of life. These are known as pain and suffering damages, and they are often a significant part of a car accident claim.
But how do you determine how much pain and suffering you’ve endured because of someone else’s negligence? And how do you prove it to the insurance company or the court?
In this article, we’ll answer these questions and more. We’ll explain what pain and suffering is, how it’s calculated, what factors influence it, and how to maximize your recovery. We’ll also share some tips and best practices for writing a compelling and informative review of your experience.
By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of how to ask for pain and suffering from a car accident, and how to get the compensation you deserve.
What Is Pain and Suffering in a Car Accident Case?
Pain and suffering is a legal term that refers to the physical and/or mental distress you’ve experienced because of someone else’s careless or wrongful act. It can include:
- Physical pain that comes from physical injuries
- Emotional pain that relates to stress, anxiety, mental anguish, or other psychological effects that stem from the accident, your injuries, or your medical care
- Physical discomfort that comes from necessary medical treatment to heal your injuries
- Loss of enjoyment of life that results from missed activities, inconveniences, or disruptions caused by the accident or your injuries
Some forms of pain and suffering are not clearly evident. For example, soft tissue injuries like whiplash or muscle strains may not show up on x-rays, but they can cause severe pain and limit your mobility. Similarly, emotional pain like depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may not be visible to others, but it can affect your mood, behavior, and relationships.
Pain and suffering are subjective, meaning that it varies from person to person. What may be unbearable for one person may be tolerable for another. Therefore, there is no universal definition or measurement of pain and suffering in a car accident case.
However, there are some methods that insurance adjusters and personal injury lawyers use to estimate pain and suffering damages. We’ll discuss them in the next section.
How Are Pain and Suffering Calculated?
There are two general ways to come up with a ballpark dollar figure that might be used as a starting point to capture your pain and suffering damages. These are:
- The multiplier method
- The per diem method
Let’s look at each one in more detail.
The Multiplier Method
The multiplier method takes your total accident-related medical bills (also known as special damages) and multiplies them by a certain number—the multiplier. The multiplier is usually between 1.5 and 5, depending on the severity of your injuries and the impact they have on your life.
For example, if your medical bills are $10,000 and your multiplier is 3, then your pain and suffering damages would be $30,000 ($10,000 x 3).
The multiplier method is simple and easy to use, but it has some drawbacks. For one thing, it doesn’t account for the actual extent of your pain and suffering. For another thing, it can be arbitrary and inconsistent. Different adjusters or lawyers may use different multipliers for similar cases.
Moreover, insurance companies have been shifting away from using a standard multiplier in recent years. Instead, they use their own special formulas or software programs to calculate pain and suffering damages. These formulas are often based on factors such as:
- The type and severity of your injuries
- The duration and intensity of your pain
- The degree of disability or impairment caused by your injuries
- The effect of your injuries on your daily activities, hobbies, work, family, etc.
- The amount of medical treatment you received or will need in the future
- The prognosis for your recovery
- The credibility of your testimony and evidence
These formulas are usually kept secret by the insurance companies, so you may not know how they arrived at their offer. However, you can still use the multiplier method as a rough guide to evaluating whether their offer is fair.
The Per Diem Method
The per diem method assigns a certain amount of money for each day that you suffer from your injuries. The amount is usually based on your daily earnings or a reasonable estimate of what your pain and suffering is worth.
For example, if you make $200 per day and you suffer for 100 days, then your pain and suffering damages would be $20,000 ($200 x 100).
The per diem method is more precise and consistent than the multiplier method, but it also has some limitations. For one thing, it can be difficult to determine how long your pain and suffering will last. For another thing, it can be challenged by the insurance company or the court as being too high or too low.
Moreover, the per diem method may not capture the full extent of your pain and suffering. For instance, some days may be worse than others, or some injuries may cause more pain and suffering than others. Therefore, you may need to adjust the per diem amount accordingly.
What Factors Affect Pain and Suffering?
As we’ve seen, pain and suffering damages are not easy to calculate. They depend on many factors that can vary from case to case. Some of the most common factors that affect pain and suffering are:
- The nature and severity of your injuries. Generally, the more serious and permanent your injuries are, the more pain and suffering you will experience. For example, a spinal cord injury that causes paralysis will likely cause more pain and suffering than a broken arm that heals in a few weeks.
- The impact of your injuries on your life. The more your injuries affect your ability to enjoy your life, the more pain and suffering you will experience. For example, if you love playing soccer but can no longer do so because of a knee injury, you will likely experience more pain and suffering than someone who doesn’t have a strong interest in sports.
- The duration of your pain and suffering. The longer you suffer from your injuries, the more pain and suffering you will experience. For example, if you have chronic headaches that last for months or years after the accident, you will likely experience more pain and suffering than someone who recovers quickly from a minor concussion.
- The credibility of your claim. The more believable and consistent your claim is, the more likely you are to receive fair compensation for your pain and suffering. For example, if you have medical records, witness statements, photos, videos, or other evidence that support your claim, you will likely receive more pain and suffering damages than someone who has no proof or contradicts themselves.
How to Maximize Your Pain and Suffering Recovery
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you deserve to be compensated for your pain and suffering. However, getting the full amount of damages you’re entitled to is not always easy. You may face resistance from the insurance company or the other party who caused the accident.
Here are some tips and best practices to help you maximize your pain and suffering recovery:
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible after the accident. This will help you document your injuries and their severity. It will also show that you are serious about your health and well-being.
- Follow your doctor’s orders and recommendations. This will help you heal faster and avoid complications. It will also show that you are doing everything you can to mitigate your damages.
- Keep a journal or diary of your pain and suffering. This will help you track how your injuries affect your physical and mental health, as well as your daily activities. It will also provide evidence of your pain and suffering that can be used in negotiations or in court.
- Collect any other evidence that supports your claim. This may include photos or videos of the accident scene or your injuries, witness statements, police reports, medical bills, receipts, pay stubs, etc.
- Hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to represent you. A lawyer can help you evaluate your claim, gather evidence, negotiate with the insurance company or the other party, file a lawsuit if necessary, and advocate for your best interests.
Pain and suffering is one of the most important aspects of a car accident claim. It reflects the physical and emotional harm you’ve suffered because of someone else’s negligence.
However, pain and suffering is also one of the most difficult aspects of a car accident claim to calculate. There is no simple formula or rule that applies to every case.
Therefore, if you’ve been injured in a car accident, you need to understand how pain and suffering is calculated, what factors affect it, and how to maximize your recovery.
We hope this article has given you some useful information and guidance on how to ask for pain and suffering from a car accident.
Remember, pain and suffering is a personal and subjective matter. No one can tell you exactly how much your pain and suffering is worth. Only you know how much you’ve suffered and how much it has affected your life.
However, you don’t have to go through this process alone. You can seek the help of a qualified personal injury lawyer who can advise you on your legal rights and options, and fight for the compensation you deserve.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, don’t hesitate to contact us today. We have the experience and the resources to handle your case with compassion and professionalism. We’ll review your case for free and help you get the best possible outcome.
Don’t let someone else’s negligence ruin your life. Let us help you get justice and peace of mind. Call us now and let us take care of your pain and suffering claim. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.