How do you put a price on something you can't see? That's the dilemma of determining how much money pain and suffering is worth in a personal injury settlement.
When you've been injured because of someone else's negligence, you have a right to seek compensation from the responsible party's insurance. If you can prove that an accident was really their policyholder's fault, the next step is to show how much money the accident cost you.
Those costs are called “damages” in a personal injury case.
Proving financial damages, for things like medical bills, lost wages, and vehicle repairs, is simple enough. It's just numbers. But a personal injury claim should also include compensation for your pain and suffering, which is different.
What Is Pain and Suffering?
“Pain and suffering” includes a variety of things like physical pain, mental and emotional suffering, inconvenience, and loss of quality of life.
For example, if you break your leg in a car accident, you'll have medical bills and loss of income from missed work. You'll experience physical pain, as well as mental stress worrying about your recovery, and you'll likely be prevented from participating in your normal activities until you're healed.
So, how do you put a dollar amount on that? There are no set in stone rules for calculating pain and suffering, but there are some methods for getting to a rough number to settle your case.
The multiplier method for calculating pain and suffering involves multiplying the amount of regular damages, like medical bills and lost wages, by a multiplier number to get the total damages in dollars. The multiplier is usually between 1 and 5 and depends on the severity of the pain and suffering.
So, if your pain and suffering was severe because you had a long recovery and couldn't do your normal activities for months, you could use a high multiplier like 5. If your regular damages of lost wages and medical bills were $10,000, you'd multiply that by 5 for a total damages amount of $50,000.
Per Diem Method
For the per diem method, you ask for a set amount of money for each day from the time you were injured until you reach maximum medical improvement. (Per diem is Latin for “per day”.) If you wanted to ask for $100 a day and were injured for 60 days, you'd ask for $6,000 for pain and suffering in addition to the regular damages.
Documenting Pain And Suffering
To have the best odds of recovering a fair settlement for your pain and suffering you'll need to show as much proof as possible to support your claims. If you're claiming that the accident caused you depression and anxiety, then showing records from a mental health professional that that backs up your claim will make your case stronger.
Personal Injury Attorney
When you're trying to recover money in a personal injury case, you should retain (hire) an attorney. An experienced lawyer can give you the best odds of getting all the money you're entitled to, including compensation for your pain and suffering. And personal injury lawyers don't charge an up front fee. They get a percentage of the money they recover for you, so they only get paid if you get paid.
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