You have probably heard the term “pain and suffering.” However, few people understand how these damages are calculated for a car accident case. Your lawyer and the insurance company can crunch the numbers for medical bills and lost wages. But how does anyone put a price on suffering?
In this blog, we’ll break down how pain and suffering damages work. Two of the most important factors are the seriousness of your injuries and whether you have an experienced Atlanta auto accident attorney on your side.
What Qualifies as Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering is just what it sounds like it would be. These are damages intended to compensate plaintiffs for the physical and mental anguish caused by their car accident. This includes:
- Physical pain caused by your injuries
- Emotional distress you experience after the crash
- Issues such as depression, anxiety, and insomnia
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Loss of job or career
- Facial disfigurement and amputation
- Loss of quality of life
- Inability to care for their children and loved ones
- Humiliation caused by scarring or burns
This list is certainly not exhaustive. Your attorney will consider the specifics of your case when evaluating your damages.
How Does Your Attorney Prove These Damages?
Proving pain and suffering is a lot harder than proving other damages. For example, when it comes to medical bills, you have receipts, bills, and explanation of benefit forms.
The same is true for property damage. You can submit a copy of the mechanic’s bill to prove your loss. For pain and suffering, it’s a lot harder for your attorney to prove.
Some of the evidence they’ll submit to the court in support of your claim for pain and suffering include:
- Copy of your medical bills showing your injuries
- Documentation showing that you underwent painful surgery
- Copies of your prescriptions for pain medication
- Affidavit from your doctor or physical therapist
- Testimony from your doctor regarding your prognosis
- Proof that you can no longer work
- Statements from your family showing that you’re less engaged
The more serious your injuries, the more money you can receive for pain and suffering. It’s critical that you contact a car accident lawyer in Atlanta as soon as possible after the crash to begin preparing a strong case.
Calculating Pain and Suffering
Putting a price on damages for pain and suffering can be difficult. However, there are two common methods that insurance companies and attorneys use.
With the multiplier method, you add up your economic damages (like medical bills and lost wages) and then multiply this by anywhere from 1.5 to 5. Usually, it will fall right in the middle with a multiplier of 3. It all depends on the nature of your injuries and the actual pain you’ve already suffered.
The per diem method calculates pain and suffering based on injury severity and recovery time. Each day is worth a certain dollar figure, which is multiplied by the number of days from your accident until your physician determines your treatment is complete.
Certain injuries usually garner a higher amount of pain and suffering than others. For example, a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury will qualify you for a lot more than whiplash or a broken wrist.
Aside from the nature and severity of your injuries, the following factors can impact your settlement for pain and suffering.
- The physical pain you experienced
- Your mental or emotional trauma
- Whether you can still work
- A decreased quality of life
- Physical limitations
- Loss of social and career opportunities
- Need for future surgeries and treatment
- Whether you were partially at fault
Your lawyer will rely heavily on your medical records to prove your damages. This is why you want to get medical care sooner rather than later. The longer you wait, the easier it is for the defendant to say your injuries were caused by something other than the accident.
Call an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer Right Away
Hiring an experienced attorney is vital after a car accident. On your own, you will be helpless in front of an astute insurance adjuster whose job is to deny your claim or reduce it as much as possible. Your attorney will skillfully negotiate to get you as much money as possible for your pain and suffering.