There is no exact formula or method of calculation to determine how much you will get for pain and suffering after a car accident. Insurance carriers and many attorneys try to utilize approaches that “crunch” numbers based upon specific computations. However, we reject a minimizing “one size fits all” view of pain and suffering. Instead, we see each of our injured clients as unique individuals, and we fight to win the best possible outcome for every client accordingly.
Because of the indefinite nature of expressing pain and suffering as a dollar amount, our NY car accident lawyer will review your case to determine what you could recover for pain and suffering damages. We know what to look for, as well as how to gather, analyze, and present evidence to prove your case. We are proud of our track record of results and will speak with you about your case during a free consultation.
In This Article
- What Types of Damages Are Recoverable in a Car Accident Case?
- What Is Pain and Suffering?
- We Use Evidence to Support Your Case for Pain and Suffering Damages
- How are Pain and Suffering Calculated in Car Accident Cases?
- Expect Car Insurance Companies to Attempt to Pay the Least Amount Possible
- Call Us Today to Learn More About Pain and Suffering Damages in Car Accidents
What Types of Damages Are Recoverable in a Car Accident Case?
The damages that you could recover in an accident case are generally separated into two categories. One category is economic damages, and the other is non-economic damages.
Economic damages are expenses from the crash that you paid or are expected to pay. You can prove the financial cost of these damages with a receipt, invoice, or another document. These include:
- Medical expenses (past, present, and future)
- Lost income or reduced or lost earning potential
- Property damages
- Other accident- or incident-related expenses
The easiest damage type to calculate after a car accident is the cost of your medical treatment. These include any bills you’ve received from the doctor, hospital, ambulance company, and rehabilitation center.
Non-economic damages are those losses suffered that do not come with a defined dollar amount. It is challenging to measure because there is no independent record to verify them. However, they cause significant changes that affect quality of life, so they must be counted, and someone must be held responsible for them.
These include pain and suffering as well as other damages, such as:
- Emotional distress
- Disability or disfigurement (scarring)
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of life enjoyment
To be compensated for pain and suffering, you will need to demonstrate that you suffered a physical injury in your car accident. There are many ways that pain and suffering is calculated, but this is the main one. That is one reason why it’s critical for you to seek medical treatment after a collision. The medical records of post-accident treatment will document the cause and extent of the injuries.
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What Is Pain and Suffering?
It can be challenging to define what pain and suffering is. It varies by the case and how parties involved in that case are affected. However, it is important to note that there are two kinds of pain and suffering. One is physical pain and suffering, and the other is mental pain and suffering.
- Physical pain and suffering takes into account how someone’s physical injuries hurt them and affect their day-to-day movement, function, and activities as they recover. These injuries can be minor or severe and affect any part of the body.
- Mental pain and suffering considers the emotions that come with the physical pain victims feel and how the effects of an accident have brought significant life changes upon them. For example, physical pain can make a person feel anxious, stressed, or depressed as well as other emotions. While emotional distress is considered pain and suffering, the two are not exactly the same.
As a result, a person might have trouble sleeping, eating, or find it hard to focus because they’re trying to manage post-traumatic stress while navigating major life changes. It can be challenging to go from living independently to now relying on outside care to handle day-to-day matters or even move. Some people receive psychotherapy or some other form of mental health counseling to manage the mental and emotional pain they experience.
Do Not Ignore Your Injuries After a Car Accident
Even though they have been badly hurt and are in a great deal of pain, many people try to ignore the discomfort or even misery by simply carrying on with their lives. Perhaps they will give themselves a bit of rest in the hopes that their pain will merely “go away.”
While this strong will might be admirable in some respects, in almost all cases, it is against one’s own best interests to follow this approach. First, early treatment can accelerate the process of pain relief and overall recovery for injury. With respect to any claim or lawsuit that may be brought, the insurance carrier will try to use a delayed treatment approach against a claimant who sought and received treatment later rather than shortly after their accident.
Among the arguments they will use are, “How badly hurt could he/she have been if they didn’t need treatment right away?” or, “Did the subject accident even cause the injuries, or were they caused by some other event?” Therefore, for any injury or loss of function you experience, we encourage you to seek medical treatment as soon as possible after a car accident.
We Use Evidence to Support Your Case for Pain and Suffering Damages
Having evidence to prove these injuries is essential to making a case for them. Documentation could include:
- Pre- and post-accident medical records
- Paystubs or time cards to show a loss of or reduced income
- Academic documents to show how an accident affected your performance in school
- A daily print or video journal giving an account of how your life has changed since the accident
- Photos and video footage of the injuries you suffered
- Testimony from a doctor or mental health professional who supports your account of how your physical and mental injuries affected you
Our car accident attorney will review these or similar items to show how you could hold the party liable for how the accident has affected your life. Then, we will calculate your pain and suffering damages and seek recovery for them.
How are Pain and Suffering Calculated in Car Accident Cases?
Since measuring one’s pain and suffering is mainly subjective, we must examine factors like how severe one’s injuries are and how these injuries will affect someone’s life over the long term or permanently. We will look at any of the following when calculating pain and suffering:
- What kinds of injuries were suffered
- How the injuries occurred
- The length of time the injuries affected the victim
- How the injuries will affect the victim’s quality of life over the long-term
As mentioned earlier, each accident is different, and injuries affect victims differently, so we look at all aspects of each case and weigh various factors related to pain and suffering. Below, we will look at two common methods used to calculate pain and suffering for settlement purposes.
What Is the Multiplier Method?
It is believed that almost all car insurance companies use what’s known as the multiplier method when calculating the amount of pain and suffering for victims of car accidents. While the exact formula that individual insurance companies use is proprietary information that is not publicly available, the multiplier method is the common method that some car accident lawyers also use to calculate pain and suffering.
Under this method, you add up all the bills you’ve incurred, including medical expenses, repair costs, and your lost wages. Then, you multiply that number by the “multiplier,” which can vary depending on the accident’s severity. Car insurance companies believe that multiplying (by three, if that is the multiplier utilized) properly accounts for any pain and suffering you might have suffered because of the crash.
The added money is supposed to cover your emotional distress from the crash and any future expenses, medical or other, that you might not know about right now. Of course, the multiplier method does recognize that settlements should be higher for severe injuries and lower for minor injuries.
Why We Don’t Use the Multiplier Method
Our car accident attorneys do not use the “multiplier method” for calculating damages. We believe each case must be carefully considered and thoroughly understood to appreciate the experience of pain and suffering unique to each client. For these reasons, we work to build the most compelling and persuasive arguments based upon the unique circumstances of each client’s case.
What is the ‘Per Diem’ Method?
A few car insurance companies compensate accident victims for pain and suffering using a daily rate. This is also known as the “per diem method.” The term “per diem” means “per day.” Under this approach, a specific dollar amount is applied to each day an accident victim feels pain until they have improved their condition.
For example, if you were prescribed pain medication, you will receive a set amount of compensation for taking the medication each day. The compensation will end once you have completed the prescription. You might also be compensated for each time you visit the doctor after the accident. So, if you visit once per week, you could receive weekly compensation from the insurance company for these visits.
Is the ‘Per Diem’ Method Better?
As with the multiplier method, we believe there is a better way to calculate these damages. While insurance carriers seek to settle for low amounts based upon the multiplier or the daily compensation method, we will never stop working to present the full scope and depth of human suffering to obtain the best possible outcome for our clients.
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Expect Car Insurance Companies to Attempt to Pay the Least Amount Possible
When seeking any type of damages in a personal injury case, we prepare our clients for all possible scenarios and outcomes. We know from decades of experience representing thousands of car accident victims that we must be prepared to fight with the car insurance company involved in the accident claim, whether your own or the other driver’s. Insurance companies will attempt to pay the least amount of money possible in a claim.
Insurance companies will contact you with a settlement offer sometimes just days following the accident, and it could be significantly less than what you truly should be paid for your pain and suffering. By offering a quick settlement right away, the insurance company is attempting to avoid paying for added expenses or the actual value of your claim.
Call Us Today to Learn More About Pain and Suffering Damages in Car Accidents
Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. passionately advocates for the injured. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a car accident and want to learn more about how much you could get for pain and suffering damages, call today for a free consultation at (516) 932-0400. We urge you to contact us as soon as you can to take legal action.
Our Long Island personal injury attorney will examine your car accident case, review your expenses, and advise you as to how you could go about recovering compensation. In addition, our multilingual staff can assist you in Spanish, Greek, Tamil, Bengali, Kannada, and English for your legal needs.