When you’re injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, you are entitled to financial compensation. Being in an accident will likely put you in financial hardship due to medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses resulting from the accident. That said, you should know that the compensation you deserve may also include intangible costs. The pain and suffering you go through should be compensated by the at-fault party. However, you need to be informed about this type of compensation, as it is a kind of damage that is difficult to assign a monetary value to.
Economic and Non-Economic Damages
There are two types of compensatory damages: economic and non-economic. These are also called special damages and general damages respectively. Economic damages are called special damages because they are based on expenses that are unique to each case, while non-economic damages are called general damages because they refer to losses that any accident victim may suffer.
Economic damages are easier to determine because they are based on tangible costs such as medical expenses, property repairs, lost wages, legal expenses, funeral and burial expenses in the case of wrongful death, and expenses resulting from disability.
Non-economic damages can be challenging to prove because they are intangible, which means that they do not have a specific dollar value. They include post-traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, loss of quality of life, permanent scarring or disfigurement, and long-term disability, among others.
What Is Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering damages are all in relation to physical and emotional traumas resulting from the accident. For instance, you may no longer be able to perform the activities you used to enjoy as a result of the injury. You may also find that you are unable to sleep normally because of the trauma you suffered. In one of the most catastrophic cases, you may have lost a loved one in the accident, causing irreparable emotional loss.
Any physical or psychological wound that affects your quality of life must be taken into account and compensated for. Some damages become noticeable after some time, so it is important to take into account both the damages you have experienced so far and those that you will suffer in the future.
How Is Pain and Suffering Calculated?
Calculating monetary compensation for the pain and suffering you endure due to the accident is difficult as there are no bills or expenses that establish a precise figure. Your attorney and the insurance company may use one of several methods to determine the pain and suffering damages. The two most commonly used methods are the multiplier and the Per Diem methods.
The Multiplier Method
The multiplier method is the most commonly used approach. It consists of assigning a number between 1.5 and 5 to the pain and suffering damages you sustained, with 5 being the most severe, and multiplying this number by the economic damages.
For example, if you suffered severe emotional damage such as the loss of a loved one or permanent disability, you might be assigned the highest value, 5. Let’s say the sum of your special damages (medical expenses, legal expenses, lost wages, etc.) was $35,000. This would mean that the monetary compensation for your pain and suffering would be $175,000.
The Per Diem Method
The Per Diem method is not as widely used, but it is a good idea to know about it so that you are well-informed. It takes a different approach and consists of assigning a daily dollar value to pain and suffering and then multiplying it by the number of days you are affected. Generally, the daily value is determined on the basis of your daily earnings.
For example, let’s say you broke your leg in the accident, therefore preventing you from going to work for two months. In addition, you suffer from pain and after-effects and must go to therapy for another three months. Now, let’s assume that you earn $50,000 per year at your current job. You must then divide your annual income by 250 (the approximate number of working days each year), which would mean that in one day you earn $200. Now multiply this figure by the number of days you are affected, in this case, about 110 days. This would give you a total of $22,000 in pain and suffering damages. The problem with this method is that it is not very effective in quantifying severe or long-term damages such as permanent disability.
How to Prove Pain and Suffering
The final figure will be established in a negotiation in which your attorney will fight for the highest compensation while the other side will seek to lower this amount. For this reason, we will give you some recommendations that you should take into account so that you can get fair compensation.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible. If you do not receive prompt medical attention, the defendant may use this against you.
- Be in constant communication with your medical team. Report any pain and discomfort you experience.
- See a mental health professional for help if you are experiencing emotional or psychological distress. They will likely make a diagnosis of the damage you suffered and provide you with a report.
- Keep a photographic record of your wounds. Also, take photographs of the accident if your injuries do not prevent you from doing so.
- Count on the testimony of friends and family who can give an account of the changes that the accident has meant for your life and the physical and emotional consequences that resulted from it.
- Ask experts to analyze the impact of the accident and the severity of the damage.
- Keep a journal during your recovery process to track any pain and changes in your life as a result of the accident. Record both physical and psychological changes.
The process of calculating pain and suffering is complex, and the final settlement figure must go through a negotiation in which the actual impact of the accident will be disputed. Going through this process while dealing with physical and emotional pain will leave you unprotected and at a disadvantage to the liable party.
That is why we recommend that from the beginning of the process you contact an experienced attorney to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. At AMS Law Group, we have experienced personal injury lawyers that can help you with your case. Contact us so that you can receive full support and to ensure that you receive the best possible compensation.