First, if you suffered an injury due to someone’s negligence, you should never ask for any type of damages from an insurance company or a liable party before discussing your case with a lawyer. By doing so, you may make mistakes that compromise the value of your case or the ability to pursue a case at all. These problems might be impossible to reverse, and often result in the responsible party (or an insurance company) unfairly undervaluing your case resulting in your receiving less compensation than you deserve.
Instead of trying to handle everything on your own, seek help from a personal injury attorney immediately who can assess your situation. Not only will a lawyer determine who should be liable for your losses, but they will also calculate how much your case could be worth, especially when it comes to pain and suffering.
Pain and suffering damages can vary widely from case to case. Below is some additional information about these damages. However, if you believe you have a claim, getting your case evaluated by a qualified attorney is the first thing you should always do.
What Is Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury Claim?
Accidental injuries can cause a range of physical and emotional pain and suffering. These injuries can occur in various settings, including car crashes, slip and falls, and other accidents.
Physical pain and suffering can stem from a wide range of injuries, such as broken bones, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and burns. The physical pain caused by these injuries can be intense and long-lasting, requiring ongoing medical treatment and rehabilitation. Even seemingly minor injuries, such as whiplash or sprains, can cause significant pain and discomfort for weeks, months, or years.
In addition to physical pain, accidental injuries can also cause emotional pain and suffering. The emotional impact of an injury can be significant, particularly if the injury results in a long-term or permanent disability. The injured person may experience anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to their injury. These emotional injuries can be just as debilitating as physical injuries and may require ongoing therapy or other forms of treatment.
Accidental injuries can also have a significant impact on the injured person’s daily life. They may be out of work or might not participate in activities they once enjoyed, leading to a loss of income and a diminished quality of life. They may require assistance with daily tasks, such as bathing or dressing, further impacting their independence and quality of life.
If you are in this position and someone else is to blame, the law allows you to recover damages for your pain and suffering. While money cannot resolve your pain or fix your injuries, it provides you compensation for the physical and emotional impact of your injury, as well as other negative impacts on your daily life.
The amount of pain and suffering damages you should seek will depend on:
- The severity of your injury
- How long you experienced pain and suffering
- Whether your pain and suffering is permanent
- Impact on your everyday life.
Never undervalue the non-economic losses from your injuries. You should immediately discuss your pain and suffering damages with a personal injury lawyer.
Always seek appropriate medical treatment and support to manage your physical injuries and mental health. Further, work with experienced legal professionals to pursue compensation for your losses.
What Injuries Cause Pain and Suffering?
Many different types of injuries can cause pain and suffering. These injuries can range from minor cuts and bruises to more severe and long-lasting injuries, such as spinal cord injuries or traumatic brain injuries.
A broken bone can cause pain and suffering, as it often requires immobilization and significant time to heal. Depending on the location of the broken bone, the injured person may experience difficulty performing everyday tasks or participating in their usual activities. They might need one or more surgeries to repair the bone.
Another often overlooked injury that can cause pain and suffering is a soft tissue injury. This can include sprains, strains, and tears to muscles, ligaments, or tendons. These injuries can be particularly painful and cause ongoing discomfort and limitations on movement and mobility. Victims might need extensive physical therapy or even surgery.
Traumatic brain injuries cause significant pain and suffering for the victim. These injuries can result from a blow to the head or a sudden jolt or impact, leading to a wide range of physical, emotional, and cognitive symptoms. A TBI victim may experience headaches, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, and emotional changes, among many other symptoms. The wide range of debilitating symptoms associated with TBI can result in significant pain and suffering.
Spinal cord injuries can also cause overwhelming pain and suffering. These injuries can lead to paralysis or other mobility impairments, as well as chronic pain and discomfort. Depending on the severity of the injury, the victim may require ongoing medical treatment and rehabilitation, which can be physically and emotionally taxing. They might also suffer a lifetime of complications.
Many other injuries can cause pain and suffering, including burns, amputations, and internal injuries, among others. Overall, any type of injury that causes physical pain, emotional distress, or limitations on daily activities can be a source of pain and suffering. In a personal injury case, you should never overlook damages for their pain and suffering, in addition to any economic damages.
The Multiplier Method for Pain and Suffering Damages
There is no predetermined financial value for intangible losses like pain and suffering. As a result, as might be expected, different parties involved in a case (whether personal injury attorneys, defense attorneys or insurance companies) might use different methods of calculating the value of pain and suffering.
A multiplier method is a common approach to calculating pain and suffering damages in injury cases. This method involves multiplying the economic damages (such as medical bills and lost income) by a certain number to arrive at a value for the pain and suffering component of the damages award.
The multiplier in the calculation depends on the severity of the injury and the impact it has had on the injured person’s life. The more severe the injury, the higher the multiplier.
The multiplier method often faces criticism. One common criticism is that it is a somewhat arbitrary approach to calculating damages, as there is no objective way to determine the appropriate multiplier for a given injury. Others argue that the multiplier method can lead to inconsistent and unpredictable damage awards, as different juries or judges may apply different multipliers to similar injuries.
Despite these criticisms, the multiplier method remains a commonly-used approach to calculating pain and suffering. This is not the only option, however, and you should not simply apply it to your case because others might.
The Per Diem Method
The per diem method is another way to calculate pain and suffering damages. This method involves assigning a dollar amount to each day the injured person experiences pain and suffering as a result of their injury.
The dollar amount for each day is based on similar factors as the multiplier method, including the severity of the injury, the length of time they will experience pain and suffering, and the overall impact on the injured person’s life.
Here is an example of how the per diem method might work:
- Medical professionals expect a victim to experience pain and suffering for 200 days as a result of their injury
- The daily rate assigned to their pain and suffering is $200
- The pain and suffering damages come to $40,000 ($200 x 200).
This approach can help in cases where the injured person might experience ongoing pain and suffering, but where the severity of the injury may not warrant a high multiplier.
The per diem method can provide a more specific and granular assessment of the damages, as it assigns a dollar value to each day of pain and suffering. However, like the multiplier method, the per diem method is not perfect. One concern is the arbitrary daily rate assigned to pain and suffering.
Ultimately, whether these approaches or others, the method applied to your injuries should depend on the specifics of the case, the severity of the injury, and the preferences of the injured person and their legal team. You should work with an experienced injury lawyer who can ensure that your calculations fairly represent your full pain and suffering.
Insurance Companies Undervalue Pain and Suffering
The process of seeking compensation often involves filing a claim for compensation with the insurance carrier for the liable party. If the insurer contacts you before you hire an attorney, they might tell you what they think your case is worth, including pain and suffering. The adjuster might assure you that they are using tried-and-true methods of calculations, but this does not mean the calculations are accurate.
Insurance companies are often reluctant to pay fair amounts for pain and suffering damages. While they cannot argue with the values on your medical bills or lost pay statements, they can try to undervalue your non-economic losses to minimize your recovery as much as possible. If you do not have a lawyer, you risk trusting their calculations and accepting much less than you deserve.
Insurers are focused on minimizing their own financial exposure. Paying out a large pain and suffering award can affect an insurance company’s bottom line. As a result, insurance adjusters may have incentives to undervalue pain and suffering damages to limit the amount of compensation they pay a claimant. Unfortunately, many people fall into this trap and accept a low settlement due to underestimated pain and suffering.
Insurance companies may use different tactics to undervalue pain and suffering damages. For example, insurance adjusters may try to get the injured person to sign a quick settlement offer before they have had a chance to fully understand the extent of their injuries and the impact on their life. Always avoid signing any settlement offer without first consulting with an attorney.
To combat the insurance company, always have your case evaluated by an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help advocate for fair compensation for pain and suffering damages. An injury attorney can gather evidence to support the value of your pain and suffering component and negotiate with insurance companies to ensure that you receive a fair settlement.
A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Negotiate Your Pain and Suffering Damages
Your injury lawyer will present their calculations and supporting evidence to the right insurance companies, along with your demand for economic damages. This is usually the jumping-off point for negotiations, as the insurance company will likely offer a settlement for less than you demand in all but the most clear cases.
Many attorneys can negotiate back and forth and reach a fair settlement agreement for you with the insurance company. If this happens, and the settlement sufficiently covers your pain and suffering, you can accept it and receive compensation. However, if the insurance company refuses to acknowledge your full pain and suffering, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in civil court.
In conclusion, pain and suffering damages are an essential component of a personal injury claim, and you should never underestimate the value of the physical and emotional trauma you suffered. The calculation of pain and suffering damages can be complex and requires the experience personal injury law firm in San Jose who can help determine the appropriate compensation.
Insurance companies often try to undervalue pain and suffering damages, so you should never try to request any amount or accept any settlement offer from an insurer without first speaking to a lawyer. Seek a free case evaluation with an injury attorney today to ensure you seek the full compensation you need.