Yes, you can get compensation for pain and suffer on top of the medical bills (past, present, and future), lost wages (past, present, and future), loss of consortium, emotional distress, mental anguish and any other item we can calculate a person endures after being injured by the negligence of the at-fault party.
‘Pain and suffering’ is a general term used for non-economic ‘general’ damages that cannot be calculated by looking at what has been paid, owed, or maybe owed in the future.
What Causes Pain and Suffering After a Car Accident?
After an auto accident, Pain and suffering may be caused by:
- Physical pain and discomfort (temporary or permanent)
- Disc pain
- Muscle pain
- Tension or stress
- Depression, anxiety, memory loss, insomnia, or other emotional disorders
- Physical limitations, including the inability to play with your children or hug them
- Loss of consortium (supportive relationship) with your family members
- Any other emotional or psychological trauma
Am I Always Eligible for Pain and Suffering Compensation?
- Workers’ Compensation Claims
- No-fault Insurance Claims when there is not a permanent injury after the car accident
- Small Claims Court Lawsuits
How Do You Calculate Pain and Suffering After a Car Accident?
There are two basic methods for calculating pain and suffering compensation are the Per Diem method and the Multiple methods.
Per Diem Method
Per Diem is a Latin term for ‘by the day.’ The per diem method of calculating pain and suffering assigns a dollar value for one day (often the amount of the person’s daily wages) then multiplies it by the number of days the injured person was affected by the injury.
The per diem method is rarely used for insurance settlements.
Example: Per Diem Calculation
Henry suffered a concussion after a car accident. The at-fault insurance company accepted full liability for the accident.
Henry had to endure headaches and a ‘fuzzy-headed’ feeling for nearly six weeks. Until his concussion symptoms cleared, he could not tolerate lights, reading, watching television, or even being outside in sunny weather.
When Henry recovered from his injuries, his demand for compensation included $5,040 for pain and suffering, calculated as $120 per day for the 42 days (six weeks) he dealt with head pain and loss of enjoyment of his life.
Henry used his average daily wage as the per diem value for his calculations.
The Multiple Method is the more commonly used way to calculate pain and suffering for insurance settlements. This calculation is made by totaling the injured person’s economic damages and applying a multiple from one to five.
Economic damages are your hard costs for medical bills, lost wages, and related out-of-pocket expenses. Insurance adjusters called these special damages, or ‘specials.’ You will have bills and receipts to support the dollar amounts figured into your economic damages.
The tricky part of using the multiple methods to calculate your pain and suffering is figuring out which number to use as a multiplier. Insurance companies usually allege that medical providers overcharge for services. This is not usually true.
Why Do Insurance Companies Not Take Into Account the Full Value of Pain and Suffering?
Most insurance adjusters will accept provable damages like medical bills, but will often challenge the amount sought for pain and suffering.
Adjusters will always refuse high pain and suffering demands when an injury claim involves:
- Soft tissue injuries: Sprains, strains, and whiplash injuries are difficult to verify on an X-ray or CT scan, so adjusters are always skeptical of your pain and suffering claim.
- Low-impact collisions: Adjusters will argue that you could not have suffered much of an injury in a minor fender-bender.
- Prior injuries: The adjuster will use prior injuries to argue that your pain and suffering were not all caused by the current accident.
- Low or no medical bills: Without physical injuries, you won’t get far with claims for pain and suffering.
- Shared liability: Your overall settlement, including pain and suffering, can be reduced if the adjuster believes you share some of the blame for your injuries
What Factors Increase Compensation in a Personal Injury Claim?
Injuries that resulted in a long and difficult recovery or that have a significant impact on the victim will always be worth a higher pain and suffering value. Quite simply, the longer it takes for you to recover, the more severe that injury is. For example:
- Accidents with fatalities
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Extensive burns
- Disfigurement, especially to the face
- Spinal cord injuries
Severe personal injury claims should always be handled by an experienced personal injury attorney. It’s the only way to get an appropriate amount of compensation for you and your family.
How Do You Prove Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering is a different experience for each individual, so think about how your injuries affected your lifestyle and emotional well-being.
Also, think about how long the injury will interfere with your life:
- Current pain and suffering are what you endure from the time of the injury through the completion of medical treatment and therapy. It ends at some point. Its duration can be measured.
- Current and future pain and suffering are what you endure from the time of the injury, through the course of medical treatment, and into the indefinite future. Its duration is unknown and open-ended.
If you’re completely healed and don’t expect any problems in the future, you cannot ask for pain and suffering. Usually, however, you can reasonably ask for one or two times the amount of your specials for pain and suffering. When you are facing ongoing effects of your injuries, you are justified in pursuing a larger amount for pain and suffering.
You don’t have to settle for less. If you were severely injured or not comfortable dealing with the insurance company, talk to a personal injury attorney about the value of your claim. Most reputable injury lawyers don’t charge for the initial consultation, neither do we. If you have been injured in a Tampa car accident, call Tampa Injury Attorney Martin Hernandez at 813.755.9500.