If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you may be able to recover money damages from the negligent driver’s insurance company. This recovery can include funds to cover medical bills, compensation for lost wages, and damage to your vehicle. In addition, pain and suffering damages may be able to be collected with the help of a personal injury attorney.
What Are Pain and Suffering Damages?
These damages compensate you as the victim for having endured the pain of injuries that may have impacted the quality of your life. This may affect your ability to take part in activities that previously brought you joy and happiness may be hindered. Injuries from an accident can cause more than just physical pain. For many victims, psychological trauma is common as well after an accident. Persistent pain and loss of ability to take part in the activities can lead to other issues such as:
- Lack of sleep
- Post-traumatic stress
- Persistent anger and frustration
- The embarrassment associated with scarring or disfigurement
Proving Pain and Suffering Damages
An experienced personal injury attorney will know what evidence needs to be presented to the insurance company (and to a court, if necessary) to prove the scope of your pain and suffering. This evidence might include:
- Medical bills
- Physical therapy bills
- Diagnosis and prognosis from medical professionals
- Diagnosis and prognosis from psychological professionals
- Records of physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Photos or videos of scarring or disfigurement
- Expert testimony
- Sworn testimony from the victim and/or family members
Calculating the Value in Your Case
Working with an experienced personal injury attorney will know how to use the evidence described above to make a demand upon the insurance company for maximum pain and suffering damages. There are a few well-recognized methods for determining the value of such damages.
Multipliers: This method takes the amount of a victim’s other damages (medical bills, lost wages, etc.) and multiplies them by a number — usually between 1 and 5 — to arrive at a figure for pain and suffering damages. A lower number might be used as a multiplier for a relatively minor, temporary injury. And a higher multiplier would be used for a severe, long-term, or permanent injury.
Per Diem: In this method sets a value for each day that a victim has suffered from their injuries. Your personal injury attorney will compile evidence to assign value to each day that you were unable to work.
Algorithms: Most insurance companies use complex computer programs based on algorithms to calculate pain and suffering damages. The variables that they use in their calculations include the severity of injuries, the duration of those injuries, the extent of medical and psychological treatment required, and the law of the state in which the claim arises (many states have their own laws regarding recovery of pain and suffering damages).
The purpose of pain and suffering damages is to compensate a victim for impairment to their quality of life. Trying to calculate and prove pain and suffering damages can be challenging. This is why working with an experienced personal injury attorney can make sure that you get the maximum award for your injuries.