If you’ve been in any kind of personal injury accident, you may have heard the term “pain and suffering.” In addition to monetary damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, property damage and other losses, pain and suffering is included in what’s called “non-economic damages.”
Defining Pain & Suffering
This catch-all term includes both the physical pain from injuries and the mental anguish that follows any kind of personal injury accident.
There is physical pain from the actual injuries—broken bones, lacerations, strains, whiplash, etc. After receiving medical treatment, these injuries will take time to heal, depending on their severity. This can include continuing pain from injuries that may or may not subside.
However, the mental pain and suffering is a little different. A side effect of the physical injuries, it can include:
- Mental anguish/emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
These are lasting effects that linger long after the physical injuries heal. They can include:
- Sleep disturbances
- Loss of appetite
- Lack of energy
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
These effects may be severe enough to prevent the accident victim from returning to work, apart from any physical disability they may have suffered. The victim would also be able to claim lost wages under the “pain and suffering” damages.
Two Methods For Figuring Pain & Suffering
There really isn’t a set formula that will give you an accurate figure and tell you (and your attorney) what to expect in a settlement. But there are a number of factors that go into calculating the number that you eventually receive.
You’ll receive monies for the pain and the effects that the injuries have had on your day-to-day activities in addition to things like medical bills. If your accident and injuries were minor, it may be a small amount. But for serious, longer-lasting injuries with severe pain, the amounts will increase substantially.
Insurance adjusters use one of two methods, both of which give a number that will eventually be negotiated by your attorney.
- The Multiplier Method, in which the adjuster adds up all of your “special damages,” the kind that are easy to calculate, and multiply them by a number between 1.5 and 4 or 5, which is based on a number of factors in your case including:
- The severity of your injuries
- Your prospects for recovery
- The impact of your injuries and how they affect your life
- If the other party was, in fact, at fault for your injuries
The biggest issue is which number they will use as a multiplier to determine the seriousness of your case, which will determine your final settlement.
- The “Per-Diem” or “Daily Rate” Method, which takes your daily earnings rate to determine how long you lived with. It’s better to use the actual daily rate that you would normally earn, such as an hourly rate for the days you work. However, this rate doesn’t always work with long-term or permanent injuries, which is where a personal injury attorney can help negotiate a better settlement.
Your Charleston Accident Attorney
Attorney Chad Love has been helping accident victims in the Charleston area for over 20 years. If you’ve been involved in a car or other accident, contact us at The Love Law Firm, or call us at (304) 344 5683. Your consultation is free, and we only collect if we win your case.