Car Accident Settlements:
Can You Claim ‘Pain & Suffering’?
A car accident settlement for pain and suffering can go a long way toward helping ease the financial and personal burden you face after a personal injury.
After a car accident, symptoms of pain and suffering can sometimes be slow to appear and continue for months. While some damages, such as harm to property, are easy to calculate, understanding the value to place on your own pain and suffering can be more complex.
Types Of Damages
When you suffer a personal injury for which you file a claim, the party responsible, whether in a settlement or court decision, pays damages. These damages fall into two categories:
- Economic Damages: These represent real, objective losses financially. Medical bills, lost wages, property damage, rehabilitation and a host of other potential bills you may be hit with after a personal injury.
- Noneconomic damages: These are often subjective compensation amounts based on damages that don’t have a firm bill or price tag attached to them, such as car accident pain and suffering. Instead, these damages are calculated based on a variety of factors.
Pain And Suffering In A Car Accident Settlement
Pain and suffering damages are meant to help you put your life back together and aid you with the economic impact of rehabilitation or adjusting to a new way of life in the aftermath of a personal injury. This can be from an impaired cognitive state, mobility difficulties, or disfigurement that has altered the quality of your life. The impact can vary from individual to individual and injury to injury.
How Pain And Suffering Is Calculated
To determine a pain and suffering car accident settlement, there are two commonly used methods:
- Per Diem: The per diem puts a per-day amount on the compensation for your personal injury. This amount is then multiplied by the number of days from your injury until you recover from the car accident pain and suffering.
- Multiplier: Damages are multiplied by a set rate to determine your compensations for pain and suffering from a car accident. Insurance companies set these rates, and they typically fall between 1.5 and 5.
While both methods offer a path towards fair compensation, the defense attorneys will work to keep these numbers as low as possible to reduce the money their clients are forced to pay for your pain and suffering.
What Affects A Car Accident Settlement For Pain And Suffering?
While either formula may be used, the final numbers assigned to each, either as the multiplier or the day rate, can rise or fall based on the judge or jury’s perception of the extent of your pain and suffering. To determine this, they consider several factors:
- Severity Of Your Injuries: More severe injuries usually cause more pain and suffering, increasing the rate they are compensated at.
- Extent Of Your Injuries: A single incident might cause an injury or many injuries. The more injuries you received as the result–including physical, mental, and emotional injuries–the higher the car accident pain and suffering settlement.
- Length Of Time: An injury that covers an extended period or will be permanent generally sees higher compensation rates than an injury that lasts only weeks.
- Impact On Your Life: An injury that leaves you minorly inconvenienced will not receive the same compensation as one that causes a massive change in your routine, ability to function independently, or overall quality of life.
In evaluating these criteria, attorneys and the court have several source of evidence to base their decisions on. While there’s no purely objective way to place a value on car accident pain and suffering for a settlement, they take a look at the evidence when determining how high or low to set the payout.
- Medical, Therapeutic, And Psychiatric Records: These documents create a record of your treatment, including the extent of the interventions required to manage your pain and suffering from a car accident.
- Journals, Statements, And Social Media Posts: These represent your own feelings and thoughts about your pain, recorded contemporaneously as you manage your pain and suffering.
- Third-Party photographs, Journals, And Testimony: Friends, family, and co-workers can offer important glimpses into how your life changed. Meanwhile photos and videos can offer the court a visual record of the impact your injury had on your life.
Maximizing Your Car Accident Pain And Suffering Settlement
If you want to get the most out of your claim for car accident pain and suffering, you need to make sure you’re doing everything in your power to create supporting evidence while ensuring you don’t sabotage your own case.
- Seek Medical Care: Do everything you can to get better. Go to all of your medical appointments, and explore your options to show the court you are making a good faith attempt to move on with your life.
- Keep Your Own Records: Diaries, journals, blogs, and vlogs can all be valuable tools to show a contemporaneous look into your pain and suffering from a car accident as you heal. These will complement the official medical records from your care providers.
- Don’t Have A “Stiff Upper Lip Approach: Pain and suffering is real, debilitating, and there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging it. In fact, hiding or minimizing the effects to friends, family members, and on social media posts could hurt your case.
- Ask For Help: Friends and family who get involved in your support and treatment may also be willing to offer their testimony and observations. Don’t be afraid to ask.
- Work Closely With Your Lawyer: Never sign anything until it has been reviewed by your lawyer. Don’t agree to talk to other parties who may be involved in your claim without speaking to your lawyer first. They’ll help you understand the best way to protect your rights.
What To Do If You’ve Been in a Car Accident
If you’re struggling to pick up the pieces after a personal injury, a pain and suffering settlement may offer the financial support you need to get back on your feet.
Our experienced personal injury attorneys are ready to help you fight for fair compensation. With a decades-long track record of successful settlement negotiations and court victories, we have what it takes to make your case our cause.
Contact us today for a free consultation. Our personal injury lawyers will evaluate your claim and talk to you about the options you may have.