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How Much Is Pain and Suffering Worth In A Car Accident Claim?

By: Moore Law Firm | Apr 13, 2021

Calculating economic damages such as medical bills, wage loss, and property damage in a car accident claim is usually fairly straightforward. Putting a dollar amount on pain and suffering damages can be much more challenging. The personal injury attorneys at Moore Law Firm have more than 30 years of experience successfully recovering damages for clients in car accident claims. Understanding the factors that are considered can give you a better idea of what your case may be worth.

What Is Pain And Suffering?

In Alabama, pain and suffering are compensable damages for the physical pain and mental anguish that often accompany serious injuries sustained in a car accident. In addition to physical pain, these types of damages may include loss of enjoyment, emotional distress, disfigurement, embarrassment, permanent disability, and loss of consortium. Simply put, mental pain and suffering includes all the negative emotions a car accident victim has suffered, such as anger, humiliation, fear, and shock. Dealing with the aftermath of life-altering injuries can lead to PTSD, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and other conditions.

Determining What Pain And Suffering Is Worth

There is no set formula for calculating pain and suffering in a car accident claim. Each case is unique, and each injured victim deals with physical and emotional hardships differently. Your car accident attorney will take a number of factors into account when determining pain and suffering amounts, such as:

  • The severity and type of injuries
  • Whether you suffer from permanent disability or disfigurement
  • The impact your injuries have had on your daily activities
  • Whether you will be able to return to work or do the things you used to enjoy
  • The duration of your recovery and whether you will ever fully recover
  • The physical pain associated with your injuries
  • Fear, stress, anxiety, and depression caused by your injuries

Regardless of whether your attorney is negotiating with an insurance adjuster or litigating your car accident case in court, they must provide present evidence that supports your claim for pain and suffering damages. An experienced lawyer may back up your claim with medical records, expert witness testimony, and other evidence. They should know how to use the facts of your case to build a solid argument for pain and suffering damages. Typically, personal injury attorneys are able to negotiate reasonable non-economic damages without having to take a car accident case to court.

Ways To Calculate Pain And Suffering Damages

In some cases, pain and suffering damages are calculated using a specific method. These types of damages may be valued by using the multiplier method or the per diem method.

Multiplier Method

The multiplier method uses the total amount of your medical bills as a base number that is multiplied to determine pain and suffering damages. This multiplier can be anywhere from 1.5 to 5 times the amount of your medical bills. Typically, the more severe your injuries and the longer it takes to recover, the higher the multiplier. For example, if your medical bills were $100,000 and the multiplier is two, you’d receive $200,000 for pain and suffering damages.

While there is not a true rule on multiplying damages to get verdict ranges, this is one formula insurance companies can attempt to use to value a case.  Of course insurance companies usually try to use the lowest possible multiplier. A good personal injury attorney will negotiate the multiplier and fight to help you recover the maximum amount of pain and suffering damages to which you’re entitled.

Per Diem Method

The per diem method uses the number of days between the date of your injury and the date your doctor releases you multiplied by a daily rate (per diem). For example, if your per diem is $200 and it took you 500 days to recover, you’d receive $100,000 in pain and suffering damages. The per diem method doesn’t work well for catastrophic injuries such as paralysis or amputation, as you can never fully recover and be “made whole” like you were before the accident.

Neither you nor the insurance company is required to use one of these methods to calculate pain and suffering damages in a car accident claim. Your attorney will do a comprehensive assessment of the circumstances and specifics surrounding your claim and your injuries and come to a fair number for pain and suffering damages.

Contact A Mobile Car Accident Lawyer

At Moore Law Firm, we understand the complex aspects of car accident claims. Our attorneys fight to help you recover the compensation you need and deserve to make things right. To schedule a consultation, use the convenient chat feature on our website, contact us online, or call our car accident attorneys at 251-445-7602.