How Much Should I expect for Pain and Suffering?
If you suffered a personal injury in California, pain and suffering may be a significant component of the compensation you receive through a settlement or verdict. There is no strict answer as to how much this will be but pain and suffering is often related to the number of your medical bills and the seriousness of the accident.
What follows are some general guidelines on how pain and suffering may be calculated after an accident. For a more personalized answer, discuss your case with experienced Los Angeles car accident attorneys.
Why the value of pain and suffering is imprecise
Pain and suffering is one of several types of non-economic damages that are recoverable after a personal injury in California. What makes these damages “non-economic” is that their values are not easily ascertained the way that bills and lost wages are. However, economic damages such as medical expenses are often used as the starting point to arrive at a value for pain and suffering.
Your pain and suffering compensation will usually be negotiated with an insurance adjuster or, less commonly, determined by a jury. In either case, the cost of treatment of your injury and its severity will be primary considerations but how those lead to a final value will depend on the method of calculation used.
How pain and suffering is calculated
When you negotiate with an insurance company, there is a good chance that the adjuster will rely on a computer program to calculate your pain and suffering value. These programs rely on data like the type of injury, cost of treatment, and length of time for which the injury required medical attention.
Another common method of calculating pain and suffering involves starting with the cost of medical treatment as a base and then applying a multiplier. For example, in a case of moderate injury, the multiplier might be three. The multiplier might be increased, perhaps to five, for a severe injury, or reduced to two or one for a minor injury. So in a case where the medical bills total $20,000 and the seriousness is moderate, the pain and suffering might be tripled to $60,000.
The third method of calculation is known as the “per diem” method. This approach estimates a value for a day’s worth of suffering given the victim’s particular injury and multiplies it by the number of days he is likely to suffer because of it. If the value of a day of suffering is approximated at $100 and it will likely continue for three months, the pain and suffering would be $9,000 for the 90 days of impact.
How a lawyer helps you obtain fair compensation for pain and suffering
Each insurance company has its own policy to determine pain and suffering but the most common methods can seriously undervalue your claim by not taking unique factors into account. Experienced car accident lawyers use their understanding of the law, the case at hand, and local verdict trends to advocate for full and fair compensation.
Your attorney will also help you document and prove your experience. This may mean assembling complete medical records and bills, providing photos of the location of the accident and the injury itself, copying a journal that documents activities before and after the accident, and providing testimony of family or close friends who have witnessed its impact.
Fight for full pain and suffering compensation in Southern California
California recognizes the right of personal injury victims to be “made whole” by recovering financially from an at-fault party. This financial recovery includes non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
Once you settle your insurance claim or lawsuit, you will not be able to go back to renegotiate these amounts. Get your case right the first time by working with a skilled Los Angeles car accident attorney.
The team at Ellis Injury Law has the experience to readily tackle your case. We guide clients through the litigation process with skill and effectiveness. If you have been injured in a car accident, call today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.