Determining Pain and Suffering Damages for a Car Accident Settlement
While most personal injury damages like medical bills and car repairs are easy to calculate after a car accident, it’s difficult to figure out a dollar amount for your pain and suffering.
It’s even harder to convince an insurance adjuster that you deserve compensation for emotional and physical pain.
However, most states allow personal injury victims to pursue damages for pain and suffering. Here are some of the things that impact the value of your pain and suffering after a car accident.
What is Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering is the emotional distress that a victim endures after being injured by a negligent party. In general, pain and suffering includes non-economic damages that must be interpreted.
Several things may cause pain and suffering after a car accident, including:
- Temporary or permanent physical pain;
- Emotional disorders like depression or anxiety;
- Cognitive disorders like memory loss or insomnia;
- Psychological trauma; and
- Physical limitations;
For car accidents, you may add pain and suffering damages to your claim if any of these conditions affect you due to the negligence of the at-fault driver.
What is the Typical Pain and Suffering Settlement for a Car Accident?
Since pain and suffering damages are intangible and difficult to calculate, it’s nearly impossible to come up with an average compensation amount.
However, there are two ways that your lawyer may calculate your pain and suffering: either per diem or by using a multiplier.
Per diem means “per day” in Latin. The per diem method calculates a dollar amount for each day you lived through your pain and suffering. However, you may have difficulty justifying the amount you pursue per day. Sometimes, your lawyer may use the amount of money you would typically make in a day to calculate your per diem pain and suffering.
The multiplier method is the most common approach to calculating pain and suffering for a car accident settlement. For this method you add up all of the economic damages you sustained due to the accident, like past and future medical expenses, and multiply that number by 1.5 or higher.
The multiplier depends on several factors related to your claim, including the severity of your injuries, the impact of your injuries on day to day function, your chance of recovery, and the liability of the other driver. Generally speaking, severe injuries that require lifelong treatment have a higher multiplier.
Are Online Car Accident Settlement Calculators Accurate?
Online calculators for car accident settlement pain and suffering amounts aren’t accurate. Since every case has unique circumstances and injuries, it’s best to leave settlement estimations to your personal injury lawyer.
Factors That Help Maximize Your Compensation
Typically, injuries that result in a long recovery or permanent disability have a higher pain and suffering value. As a result, pain and suffering amounts usually increase in the following cases:
- Traumatic brain injuries,
- Spinal cord injuries,
- Serious burns,
- Facial disfigurement, and
- Accidents with fatalities.
Any injuries that severely impact the victim’s ability to live a comfortable life may justify higher compensation.
How Insurance Adjusters Try to Minimize Your Claim
The goal of an insurance adjuster in your claim is to give you the lowest compensation acceptable. As a result, they usually challenge any money you seek for pain and suffering after a car accident, especially if your claim involves:
- Prior injuries or conditions;
- Low-impact collisions or minor accidents;
- Soft tissue injuries like strains, sprains, and whiplash;
- A lack of significant medical bills; or
- Shared liability for the accident.
In general, if you have serious injuries, you have an easier time justifying compensation for pain and suffering.
How Long Will My Case Take to Resolve?
Many personal injury cases take months or even years to resolve, depending on whether or not they go to trial. Car accident cases with serious injuries and claims for pain and suffering might take longer, especially if you need to file a lawsuit. However, simpler cases with low claim amounts may settle in just a few weeks. Every case is different, so we highly recommend you discuss the potential length of your case with a personal injury lawyer.
What is the Likelihood That I Will Receive a Settlement Instead of Going to Trial?
Most personal injury cases usually end in a settlement, especially since defending a lawsuit is expensive for insurance companies and victims alike. However, your lawyer might decide to take your case to trial if the insurance company won’t budge on their settlement offer or deny your claim when you have strong evidence.
Evidence That Helps Your Claim
Before you make a demand for extra damages due to pain and suffering, your lawyer finds justifiable reasons for the demand and uses them in settlement negotiations. This usually involves physical evidence such as:
- Photos of your injuries,
- Medical records,
- Witness statements, and
- A personal statement about the impact of your injuries on day to day life.
If you take time to prepare your demand for extra damages in advance, you might convince the adjuster to offer a higher settlement amount.
How Do I Know if My Car Accident Lawyer is Handling My Case Well?
Like many victims, you might have difficulty finding the right lawyer for you after a devastating car accident. After all, the lawyer you choose makes or breaks your case.
The best personal injury lawyers typically do the following:
- Request copies of medical records of your injury for you;
- Obtain important documents like accident reports on your behalf;
- Hire medical experts and find potential witnesses;
- Collect as much evidence as they can from your accident;
- Communicate with you directly instead of through a case manager; and
- Answer your questions promptly.
If you ever suspect that your lawyer isn’t doing a good job with your case, make sure you get a second opinion from another personal injury lawyer.
If You Need Money While You Wait for Your Settlement, Consider a Lawsuit Loan from Nova Legal Funding
At Nova Legal Funding, we understand that pain and suffering after a car accident makes everyday life difficult. Many car accident victims with serious injuries have difficulty paying bills while they recover, leaving them in a financial hole. If you suffer injuries in an accident and need help paying rent, utilities, groceries, or other expenses while waiting for your settlement, contact Nova Legal Funding today.
We provide pre-settlement lawsuit loans to victims who can’t wait for their settlement. Our interest rates are the lowest in the industry at just 1-3% and we offer risk-free funding, which means you don’t have to pay back your loan unless you win your case. Call one of our lending specialists today at 866-691-6570 or apply online. Once approved, we send you money within 24 hours.
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