Understanding That Your Pain Has Monetary Value After A Car Accident
If you were injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you have a legal right to seek monetary damages from the insurance company of the driver responsible, or from your own insurance company if the other driver was uninsured. Insurance compensation for injuries you sustained in a car accident should include both economic (tangible – things like medical bills and lost wages that can be calculated) and non-economic (non-tangible – things like loss of enjoyment and/or pain and suffering that can’t be measured by a receipt or invoice) damages. You can make a strong claim for both of these types of damages.
While only a knowledgable local lawyer can set correct expectations for how much you’ll be able to receive in terms of economic damages, it’s fairly easy to estimate once you’ve spoken with them; you should at least be paid for the total sum of your medical bills and lost wages, and you probably know what those are (just add up all of your bills and deductibles). However, it can be harder to understand that your pain has monetary value after a car accident. How much should you get paid for your pain and suffering after a car accident? The answer depends on many factors.
Types Of Pain And Suffering Resulting From Car Accidents
Car accident victims, and sometimes their family members, are legally entitled to compensation for pain and suffering. However, their compensation isn’t simply restricted to physical pain from bodily injuries, but to other types of non-economic damages as well!
If you were injured in a car accident, all of your non-economic damages should be taken into account, including:
- Physical pain and suffering: Includes the immediate pain and physical trauma suffered upon impact, ongoing physical pain from various wounds and swelling, painful stitches, injections, surgeries, fatigue, dizziness, and many other things.
- Emotional distress: Inclues anxiety, depression, fear, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), sleep issues, children acting out or regressing developmentally, and any other emotional traumas that result from the accident.
- Decreased quality of life: Inclues the inability to participate in or loss of enjoyment in family activities, school, hobbies, pet care, or religious services that were a regular part of life prior to the accident, as well as real or perceived social isolation and chronic pain.
- Scarring and disability: Includes any disfigurement and resulting inhibitions the accident caused, such as the loss of a limb or severe scarring, the loss of future income earning capacity, loss of function (such as cognitive function, paralysis, deafness, or blindness), social embarrassment, and more.
- Loss of marital and family relations: Also known as loss of consortium between married spouses, or loss of support and companionship between parent and child.
- Impact of fatal injuries: Wrongful death car accident claims can include the mental anguish and grief suffered by the decedent’s family members and loved ones.
Calculating Pain And Suffering Settlement Amounts
There are two commonly used ways to calculate settlement amounts for pain and suffering; the per-diem method and the multiplier method.
The Per-Diem Method
The Latin phrase “per diem” means “by the day.” This method designates a dollar amount (often the amount of the claimant’s daily wage), multiplying it by the number of days they were impacted by their injuries.
Suppose you are on your way to work one afternoon and are hit by a speeding driver who runs a red light. You are rushed to a trauma center with a pelvic fracture and a ruptured spleen. Because you work in a job that requires manual labor, you are unable to return to work for six months, and you need physical therapy to heal. Your total medical costs amount to $80,000 out of pocket (surgery, medications, emergency room care, X-rays, casting, bloodwork, physical therapy, etc.)
Before the accident, you made $15 per hour, or ($15 x 8) $120 per day, and this amount may be used to calculate your pain and suffering. In that case, using your daily wage as a per diem, your compensation calculation would look like this: $120 (per diem value) x 182 days (6 months) = $21,840. This amount would be added to your amount of lost wages ($120 x 103, or 5 days per week for 6 months minus holidays = $12,360) and medical bills ($80,000) to arrive at a total settlement of $114,200.
The Multiplier Method
The multiplier method is the most frequently used to estimate compensation for car accident injury settlements. Here’s how it works:
- All of the economic damages from the car accident are added up, such as medical treatment expenses, lost wages or income, and out-of-pocket costs.
- That sum is multipled by a factor of between 1 and 5 (depending on the severity of your injuries) to account for your pain and suffering.
- The economic damages are combined with the pain and suffering amount to determine the total value of your car accident injury claim.
Serious car accident injuries resulting in disability, surgery, rehabilitation, or permanent scarring can garner a multiplier of 3-5x or more.
Suppose you are injured under the same circumstances as in the previous example, suffering the same injuries and incurring the same expenses. Your multiplier is assigned as a 3. Let’s see the amount of compensation you might be entitled to receive using this method instead:
Your claim value may be calculated as follows:
- Medical Expenses: $80,000
- Lost Wages: $12,360 ($120 x 103 days)
- Total Economic Damages: $92,360 ($80,000+ $12,360)
- Pain and Suffering: $277,080 ($92,360 x 3, the multiplier)
- Total Settlement Demand: $369,440 ($92,360 + $277,080)
- By using the multiplier method, you could receive a much higher settlement.
Again, these are both just fictitious examples, and it’s important to note that that calculations don’t guarantee that you will receive the exact amount; it only provides a framework for negotiations. That’s why it is so important to enlist the assistance of an experienced, aggressive car accident injury lawyer who can ensure that you get the maximum compensation you deserve!
Receiving Fair Pain And Suffering Compensation Begins With Hiring An Experienced Attorney. Call The Florida Law Group!
A car accident can cost you more than just medical expenses; it can cost you your happiness, your peace, and your well-being, and you deserve full compensation for those things as well! At The Florida Law Group, our seasoned car accident attorneys are well-versed in determining appropriate compensation for non-economic damages and fighting for victims’ rights to it. We will ensure that all of your damages, including your pain and suffering, are included in your demand for recovery. Then we will go to work negotiating on your behalf!
Since 1984, we have recovered over $1 billion for our clients. We have 11 locations in the state of Florida for your convenience, and our firm has been recognized for excellence by many prestigious national organizations! You can rely on us to always go the extra mile for you and never let you settle for less than the fair value of what your injuries are worth. We proudly offer all of our legal services on a contingency fee basis, so you will never pay anything out of pocket or upfront; you only pay us if and when we win! Call The Florida Law Group’s Florida car accident lawyers today to schedule your free consultation and learn more about your options and next steps.