How Does Pain and Suffering Factor Into a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Feb. 15, 2017
When you’re in a serious car accident, the likelihood that you will experience some form of pain and suffering is high. We’ve all heard of pain and suffering, but how do those words play into a personal injury lawsuit?
What Is Pain and Suffering?
Typically, there are two types:
Physical pain and suffering – that’s the actual physical pain that comes with injuries sustained in the accident. Physical pain and suffering are not just the pain you experienced during the crash and after the crash. It also considers the pain and suffering that you are likely to experience in the future because of the accident.
Mental pain and suffering – This is more of a “byproduct” of physical injuries. When you’ve been injured in an accident, you might experience a lot of crippling emotions – anguish, sadness, loss of joy, fear, anger, etc. – all of which can have a negative impact on you and your life. Just like physical pain and suffering, mental pain and suffering not only calculates the mental anguish you felt right after the accident, but also the mental pain and suffering you are likely to experience down the road.
How Is Pain and Suffering Factored Into Your Personal Injury Case?
An insurance company, a judge or a jury is going to look a wide range of things when determining pain and suffering in a personal injury lawsuit.
Here are some of the factors they will consider:
Consistency – Does your story stay the same every time you tell it? Are you consistent when you describe your pain?
Credibility – Do you have a criminal record? Is there evidence that you have lied at any point during the personal injury case?
Likeability – The bad part about this factor is that it’s subjective, but it’s still very important when determining how much money you will receive for pain and suffering. If you don’t consider yourself a “people” person, make sure your highly experienced personal injury attorney spends ample time prepping you for trial or depositions. You should be able to speak openly and clearly about your injuries and the aftermath. This is why it is vitally important for your lawyer to get to know you.
Doctor support – Does your doctor’s diagnosis consistent with your claims? Because the award must be based on the severity of the injury, you’ve got to have supporting documents and testimony from healthcare professionals.
How is pain and suffering calculated?
Although there’s no set-in-stone law on how to calculate the amount of money a person should receive in a personal injury case, insurance companies sometimes rely on two methods:
Multiplier – This means the award is determined by multiplying the actual damages, like medical bills and lost employment wages, by a set number. That number is usually between 1 and 5.
Per diem – Insurance companies have also been known to use the per diem method in which they pick a daily amount (like $150, for example) and pay you that amount every day from the day of the accident until you have reached “maximum recovery.”
Regardless of how an insurance company values your claim, it may not be the value that you agree with. That is why it is so important to have a conversation with your lawyer about how the injury has affected you at home, work and the things that you enjoy doing in life. You are not stuck with any amount that an insurance company is willing to offer. That is why our Court system is there.
There’s a lot of information out there on pain and suffering, but no amount of research can make up for having an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side. If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact Robert Armstrong today.