Calculating pain and suffering can prove challenging, so it’s always best to seek support from a personal injury lawyer to calculate your pain and suffering damages by gathering evidence and estimating the full costs of your injuries.
Following an accident, you can easily seek compensation for the pain and suffering you’ve endured as a result of the accident. However, to ensure that you recover maximum compensation, you will have to have a proper calculation of the pain and suffering that you can state in monetary terms. While you can count some damages, such as medical expenses, in dollar amounts, other damages, including the pain and suffering, you endure in your body and soul and may struggle to assign a monetary value.
To calculate the pain and suffering you can seek compensation for, your lawyers will take a lot of time gathering evidence, talking to experts, and building a solid estimate to use in your claim.
What Constitutes Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury Claim?
When it comes to personal injury claims, you can claim certain types of damages as part of your requested compensation. Pain and suffering is a type of damage that you can recover that covers a wide variety of the pain and suffering you’ve endured. For example, you can claim that pain and suffering cover most or all of the non-economic damages you suffered, such as emotional distress, pain, discomfort, inconvenience, etc.
If you suffer injuries in a personal injury accident, you can determine your compensation amount based on several types of damages.
You will need to take into account both economic and non-economic losses, including:
- Medical expenses. This calculated number will account for emergency room visits as well as ongoing treatment, therapy, or medication costs.
- Property damage expenses. If your car or other property sustained damage in your accident, you can claim the cost of repairs as damages.
- Lost income. Your lawyers will calculate this amount based on how much time you had to take off work to recover from your injuries.
- Lost earning capacity. This amount covers how much you’ll likely lose over time if your injuries prevent you from returning to work.
- Pain and suffering. This, as explained, is the general category of the pain, suffering, distress, and inconvenience you’ll have to deal with after your accident.
- Emotional trauma. Any serious distress brought on by your accident.
- Loss of life enjoyment. You can seek compensation if your injuries leave you unable to perform certain activities that you used to enjoy.
- Loss of consortium. You may want to include this amount if you lost a beloved relationship because of your accident.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you might find other damages to seek in a personal injury claim. You must get in touch with a personal injury attorney first to make sure you don’t miss out on any damages that you could claim and come up with the proper amount.
How Do Lawyers and Insurance Companies Calculate a Settlement Amount?
Lawyers calculate settlement amounts by using a variety of pieces of evidence from your accident case to determine what the responsible party owes you. In some cases, your lawyers may calculate a settlement amount that differs significantly from the settlement amount the insurance company calculates. For this reason, you want to understand how each party calculates the settlement amount.
How Lawyers Calculate Settlement Amounts
To calculate an appropriate settlement amount, lawyers start by gathering the evidence and evaluating the reasonable amount of losses you’ve probably suffered.
They will need to put together evidence, such as:
- Medical records that detail what injuries you suffered and how they affected you after the crash.
- Testimony from medical experts who can explain how much you will likely suffer from your injuries throughout your life.
- Testimony from mental health experts who can testify what you will likely suffer mentally and emotionally throughout your life as a result of the accident.
- Testimony from family and friends who can explain what pain you’ve gone through and how it has changed you.
- Photos or videos from the accident scene that show what happened during and after the accident.
- A police report from the accident scene, if applicable, detailing the circumstances and parties involved.
- Documentation of lost income and wages that your work provides.
- Journal or diary entries that explain what you feel and your level of suffering every day.
After gathering these various pieces of evidence, your lawyers will make a judgment on how much they believe you should pursue as compensation for your damages as a whole. Then, carefully complying with the laws set in place by the state for dealing with civil actions, your lawyers will let you know a rough estimate of how much they think you can get along with the lowest amount they think you should accept.
Once your lawyers have calculated the right amount, they will send a complaint to the responsible party and/or the at-fault insurance company asking for compensation. At that point, the insurance company will likely send a reply either making a settlement offer or rejecting your claim and insisting that you don’t qualify for compensation for some reason.
How Insurance Companies Calculate Settlement Amounts
Insurance companies usually have a claims adjuster who will investigate your claim much as your lawyer would. They’ll look at the same kinds of evidence from medical records, accident reports, photos, videos, and expert testimony. However, insurance companies differ from a lawyer in one key area: they focus on their profits.
Insurance companies run on a model where they make their money primarily by earning more from premiums than they pay out on claims. Therefore, to make enough to keep their company functioning well, they want to pay as little in claims as possible. Because they rely so much on small payouts in these claims, they may offer you a much smaller settlement than you what you seek.
However, it is in insurance companies’ best interests to stay out of court, since court cases always end up costing way more than cases settled out of court. So, if you feel unsatisfied with the first offer an insurance company makes, you can easily get your lawyer to make a counteroffer raising the price and the insurance company will likely negotiate.
How Much Is My Pain and Suffering Worth?
Calculating the overall worth of a claim can prove challenging. As noted above, many different categories of damages exist to take into account when calculating the worth of pain and suffering. If you sustain injuries in an accident and have to deal with calculating the worth of your pain and suffering, you will want legal support to make sure you do things right.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that at least $55 billion is spent in an average year for those recovering from accidents, whether in medical costs or the lost wages victims suffer. Many accident claims will end up worth hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in compensation for victims. However, every case will depend on its unique facts and circumstances.
How Do I Prove the Worth of My Pain and Suffering?
Proving how much you qualify to receive in compensation takes a lot of evidence and time. Get in touch with people who can help you as soon as possible so you don’t miss out on potential compensation.
Below, we discuss the steps you should take after an accident that leads to a personal injury so that you can prove the worth of your pain and suffering.
- Keep all your medical bills and records. You should keep all records and documents that you receive from your doctor in a safe place, so you can view them later and use them as evidence to prove all that you’ve suffered.
- Keep a journal. You’ll have a hard time proving emotional distress or other losses in life enjoyment and relationships if you don’t keep a journal to track these things and relate them to the accident and your injuries.
- Get documentation. If you take time off work or lose your job, for example, you need to get documentation of the circumstances to use as evidence.
- Never admit fault. If you feel unsure about how the accident happened, don’t say anything. Sometimes, people who don’t bear liability feel guilty for what happened and don’t stay firm in their denial of fault. If you accidentally admit fault to your insurance company, your family and friends, or your social media audience, you will have a harder time recovering maximum compensation.
- Talk to a personal injury lawyer. As soon as possible, get in touch with a personal injury lawyer to review your case. Lawyers will offer a free consultation to decide if you should pursue your case. Then, they’ll help you gather evidence that’s hard to get (such as certain medical records or expert testimony) and build you a strong claim. Without help from a lawyer, you may struggle to find all of the evidence that you need to prove your claim.
Once you’ve taken these steps towards proving the worth of your pain and suffering, you’ll want to let your lawyer handle the rest. Your attorney will help you make sure the insurance company doesn’t take advantage of you.
How a Personal Injury Claim Works
Once you’ve gathered your evidence, your claim will take some time to sort out. According to the law, you have two years to bring your claim against the responsible party. This amount of time will vary depending on what state you live in, so make sure to check the laws in your state before making any claim.
Once you’ve determined you have a valid claim and want to pursue it, you should:
- Call a lawyer to get a free evaluation and decide whether you qualify to file a claim.
- Meet with your lawyer in person to go over the details. If you feel satisfied with the lawyer and want to sign an agreement, you will need to complete certain paperwork and agree on a fee structure.
- Gather evidence, usually with the help of your lawyer. Your attorney can gather all your records as your legal representative.
- File a complaint. Your lawyers will make sure everything looks good legally, then send a complaint detailing your accident, your injuries, and the compensation you seek. This will go to the insurance company of the responsible party and anyone else who bears liability for your accident.
- Engage in Discovery. Your attorneys will take care of gathering even more evidence, including interrogatories (written questionnaires) and depositions (verbal questioning) from all essential parties and witnesses.
- Negotiate for a settlement. The insurance company for the defendant will make you offers of compensation, which you can either accept or reject. Your lawyer will help you evaluate all offers, but you will ultimately make the final decision about accepting or rejecting each one.
- Go to court. If you can’t reach a good settlement that offers your compensation to cover the costs of your injuries, you can take your case to court.
- Receive your settlement. After a judge or jury decides your case, you’ll take the settlement you earned and go on with the rest of your life.
Personal injury accidents cause a lot of pain and suffering for everyone involved. If you suffer injuries in an accident, don’t wait to seek out compensation to help you get back on your feet.
After your personal injury accident, find a lawyer to help you get started on your claim. Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, so they won’t charge you anything unless they win your claim. If you’re dealing with pain and suffering after an injury, you have nothing to lose. Get in touch with a lawyer today, so you can get back on track with living your life and recovering your freedom.