Many car accident victims deserve compensation for their mental and physical pain and suffering. However, how do you know how much to seek since these are non-economic and intangible losses?
The good news is that an experienced San Jose Car Accident attorney can determine how much you should ask for pain and suffering from a car accident. There are a couple of common methods for calculating pain and suffering, known as the per-diem and multiplier methods.
The Per-Diem Method and Multiplier Method, Explained
You can ask your attorney how they calculate pain and suffering. Presumably, the attorney will decide on an appropriate method for each individual client, though there is no singularly accepted method.
The Per-Diem Method
In the per-diem method of calculating pain and suffering, an attorney establishes a daily cost for their client’s pain and suffering. The attorney then calculates the number of days the client experiences pain and suffering and arrives at a total sum for their pain and suffering.
The attorney must determine an acceptable, logical amount for the client’s daily pain and suffering from a car accident. Some lawyers may base the figure on daily earnings, though this is not the only way of establishing a per-diem rate.
The Multiplier Method
Rather than identifying a daily monetary figure for their client’s pain and suffering, attorneys may use the multiplier method. In this method, the lawyer totals the cost of the client’s economic damages (also known as special damages). These damages can include medical bills, lost income, vehicle repairs, and other damages with a clear monetary value.
Once the attorney knows the cost of those damages, they will multiply that total by a number. The severity of the client’s pain and suffering determines the value of the multiplier.
Whether these methods or others are used to calculate pain and suffering, an attorney likely anticipates pushback from liable parties. Defendants in a car accident lawsuit may challenge the severity of the client’s pain and suffering, both because it is in the defendant’s financial interests and because pain and suffering can be more difficult to prove.
Factors That Can Affect the Severity of a Car Accident Victim’s Pain and Suffering
When a lawyer sets a per-day cost for their client’s pain and suffering or chooses the multiplier figure, they’ll consider several factors, including:
- The severity of the client’s physical injuries: Severe injuries can cause serious pain. Furthermore, injuries that cause long-term or even disabling symptoms may substantially degrade someone’s quality of life, causing significant pain and suffering.
- The nature of the client’s emotional and psychological symptoms: Different car accident victims suffer different psychological and emotional conditions after a collision. These conditions can include depression, anxiety, embarrassment, and loss of enjoyment of life. The specific conditions you experience may affect the value of your pain and suffering.
- The client’s response to the accident: Some car accident victims can rebound fairly quickly from their collision, while others may take longer to recover. Your unique reaction to the accident will be relevant to your pain and suffering valuation.
- The financial consequences of the car accident: Financial pressures can worsen one’s pain and suffering. If you have suffered significant financial losses because of your accident, it may increase the value of your pain and suffering. This is especially true if you cannot work for a long period, as you may also lose the fulfillment and earnings provided by your career.
The more serious an accident victim’s injuries are, the more substantial their damages claim will be. This includes losses for their pain and suffering.
An Attorney Can Handle the Post-Accident Legal Process for You
The time following a car accident can be painful, confusing, and filled with matters you do not typically face. You can hire an attorney for a car accident to handle the legal process, as this will allow you to focus on your recovery, rest, and attend to other personal responsibilities.
A lawyer generally helps a car accident victim by:
- Documenting pain and suffering: An attorney can work with mental health professionals and medical specialists to get diagnoses for your pain and suffering. Such diagnoses may establish depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sleep disorders, and other conditions related to your accident.
- Documenting other accident-related damages: Your attorney will also document medical conditions, medical care, lost income, vehicle repairs, temporary transportation expenses, and other damages resulting from your accident.
- Handling all case-related paperwork: Your lawyer can file a claim or lawsuit on your behalf, then complete most of the subsequent paperwork to complete your case.
- Dealing with insurance companies or other liable parties: A lawyer may need to interact with insurance companies, civil defense attorneys, and other parties to complete your case. By having a lawyer handle these communications, you’ll protect your own rights and protect yourself from undue stress.
- Negotiating a settlement: Liable parties do not typically offer fair compensation right away. Often, a lawyer has to fight to get the money their client deserves. Your lawyer will lead all car accident settlement negotiations for you, working to secure the entire financial recovery that you are entitled to.
Some car accident cases end with a trial. If circumstances make going to court the right option, your lawyer will orchestrate this process, too.
What Does It Cost to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
Victims of car accidents can usually hire a lawyer at no out-of-pocket cost. Most car accident lawyers instead work on a contingency fee. In this arrangement, the attorney only receives payment if they win compensation for the client. The they are paid is a percentage of the client’s judgment or settlement.
This kind of non-guaranteed fee structure can benefit a car accident victim because:
- It enables all car accident victims to get legal representation
- It removes one’s financial status as a potential barrier to hiring a lawyer
- A law firm has a clear financial motive to win
- A client does not have to risk their own money to hire a lawyer
This fee structure also allows you to hire a lawyer immediately after your accident.
Call an Attorney Today to Seek Justice for Your Car Accident
Hire a San Jose Personal Accident Lawyer as soon as possible so you don’t miss your state’s deadlines for filing car accident cases. Start by calling local law firms and completing free consultations, and you can start protecting your legal rights.