How Much is Pain and Suffering for a Car Accident?

Posted on June 20, 2024 in Car Accidents

f you’ve suffered an injury in a car accident, you may have the opportunity to pursue financial recovery from the at-fault party. You can receive compensation for medical expenses, lost income, and property damage depending on the circumstances. Additionally, you can be entitled to damages for pain and suffering.

It’s important to understand what pain and suffering damages entail and how much your damages can be worth. A skilled car accident lawyer in Phoenix can determine the monetary value of your case and aggressively pursue favorable compensation on your behalf.

What is “Pain and Suffering?”

How Much is Pain and Suffering for a Car Accident

“Pain and suffering” refers to the physical pain and mental and emotional effects you may experience following a car accident. These damages can be more challenging to quantify as they’re a type of non-economic damage. While more subjective, pain and suffering damages can be equally as important as other types of damages.

Pain and suffering are grouped together but mean different things. It’s important to consider physical pain and emotional suffering to determine the extent of your pain and suffering damages.

Physical pain and suffering stem from the injuries you sustain in a car accident. Depending on the severity, your injuries can impact your life in the short and long term. Physical effects that can contribute to your physical pain and suffering include:

  • Broken bones
  • Nerve damage
  • Paralysis
  • Brain damage
  • Chronic headaches
  • Soft tissue damage
  • Internal organ damage

Getting hurt in a car accident can also have a significant effect on your emotions, resulting in emotional pain and suffering. Some of the issues you may encounter post-collision that can count toward emotional pain and suffering damage include:

It is particularly helpful to understand your pain and suffering damages and how they can impact the overall value of your claim. Your accident attorney can further explain how your state’s laws handle pain and suffering damages and how they can affect your case.

Who’s Eligible to Obtain Pain and Suffering Damages?

Eligibility for pain and suffering damages varies by state. Not every accident victim can pursue these types of damages, as it depends on state law and the specifics of your collision and resulting harm.

Simply put, if your losses are extensive and go beyond simple medical bills and some lost time from work, you may be eligible to receive pain and suffering damages. Usually, accident victims who seek these damages suffer substantial injuries that leave them permanently impaired in some way, whether physically or mentally.

Additionally, if you lose a loved one in a car crash, you can obtain pain and suffering damages. When a victim dies in an accident caused by a third party, this is considered a wrongful death. A wrongful death claim allows a victim’s family to pursue financial recovery for their untimely loss. Wrongful death cases may include pain and suffering damages for the mental and emotional anguish of losing a loved one.

If you’re wondering whether you may be entitled to acquire pain and suffering damages, it’s best to discuss it with a local car accident attorney. A lawyer can familiarize themselves with your case and determine whether you will qualify for pain and suffering damages and, if so, how much they will be worth.

Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages

Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages

Pain and suffering damages are non-economic damages, which means they are not based on financial losses or expenses. This is partly what makes these damages more difficult to calculate.

The calculation for pain and suffering damages varies by case, as it is subjective. No two cases are the same, and these damages are based on the victim’s specific circumstances, including their injuries and experiences resulting from their collision.

There are two main methods used to calculate pain and suffering damages: the multiplier method and the per-diem method.

With the multiplier method, the severity of your situation earns you a sort of “rating” on a scale from one to five. The worse your situation after your accident, including your physical injuries and mental state, the higher your number. Once your case is given a rating, you take the total of your economic damages and multiply it by that number.

So, for example, if your economic damages were valued at $100,000 and your case is given a rating of three, your pain and suffering damages will come out to $300,000.

In some cases, the per-diem method, also known as the daily rate method, may be used instead. To determine the per-diem rate, it’s essential to consider your circumstances. For instance, a person with a brain injury is likely to get a higher “daily rate” than someone with a broken leg, as brain injuries are more severe and have a greater impact.

The per-diem rate is then calculated by the number of days the victim has suffered or will suffer. This can be extremely difficult to calculate but is usually based on how long it takes the victim to reach maximum medical improvement.

Because of the nature of pain and suffering damages, they are not as easy to quantify and calculate as economic damages. Still, these damages can add plenty of value to your case and help minimize your financial burdens after a car accident. Therefore, you want to ensure your damages are calculated accurately with the help of a seasoned attorney.

Factors Impacting the Value of Pain and Suffering

Like your other damages, many details affect the value of your pain and suffering damages. Your car accident attorney must evaluate certain factors to come up with an adequate valuation, including the following.

The Type of Injuries You Suffer and How Serious They Are

One of the primary factors that influence the value of your pain and suffering damages is your injuries, including the kinds of injuries you sustain and the severity of these injuries. The severity of your injuries is based on how long it takes for you to recover, how your injuries affect your lifestyle, and your prognosis.

The more physical harm you suffer and the more serious your injuries, the higher your pain and suffering damages can be.

Your Prognosis

Your prognosis indicates how serious your injuries are and how they can impact your future. You’ll have to rely on your medical records and your doctor’s professional opinion to determine your prognosis.

Usually, a poor prognosis means more compensation for pain and suffering, as you may never fully recover, and your life will likely never be the same.

The Length of Time It Will Take for You to Recover

The time it takes for you to recover from your injuries depends on the kinds of injuries you sustained and how extensive your injuries are. You may recover from your injuries, but in more severe cases, you might never totally recover. The more time it takes for you to recover from your injuries, the more compensation you’ll need.

The Impact Your Car Accident Has Had on Your Life

A car accident can impact your life in various ways. Not only might you have to deal with debilitating physical injuries, but you may also have to face mental and emotional trauma. This can all change your life, negatively impacting your day-to-day, your ability to work, and your relationships.

The more substantial the impact is on your life, the more you may recover for pain and suffering.

Your Economic Damages

While pain and suffering damages are non-economic, your economic damages play a role in their value. This is particularly true if the multiplier method is used, as this method requires looking at your economic damages and multiplying those damages by your assigned rating number.

Evidence Used to Prove Pain and Suffering Damages

Evidence Used to Prove Pain and Suffering Damages

Pain and suffering damages are challenging to calculate, which means more evidence is usually needed to come up with a fair number. Unlike economic damages, which are proven with concrete proof like bills, there is no one specific type of documentation you can present to represent your pain and suffering damages. Therefore, your attorney will need to gather multiple types of evidence.

Evidence often used to seek and prove pain and suffering damages includes:

  • Medical records for accident-related injuries and pre-existing conditions
  • Medical bills
  • Documentation detailing your lost income
  • Police reports
  • Photos and videos
  • Your testimony
  • Witness statements
  • Expert statements, including medical experts and accident reconstruction experts

With a carefully curated combination of evidence, your car accident attorney can establish the value of your pain and suffering damages and obtain fair financial recovery.

Pursuing Financial Recovery for Pain and Suffering – Can You Sue?

Obtaining pain and suffering damages depends on the circumstances. You can sometimes acquire these damages through your auto insurance claim. However, in some situations, pain and suffering damages are not automatically covered by certain insurance policies.

For example, in a no-fault state, you may not receive pain and suffering damages through your initial insurance claim, which is with your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. No-fault state laws do not require you to prove fault to obtain compensation. Instead, you can file a first-party claim for monetary recovery through your own insurance to receive compensation, no matter who was to blame.

However, your no-fault insurance settlement will only cover certain damages, like medical expenses and partial lost income. So, if you need pain and suffering damages, you might need to file a lawsuit or a third-party claim when applicable.

Understanding how your state’s laws concerning pain and suffering damages is important. A local car accident lawyer can best explain and assess the right course of action to obtain pain and suffering compensation.

Is There an Average Pain and Suffering Settlement Amount?

Waiting to see how much your claim is worth can make you anxious, and you may wonder whether there is an average settlement amount you can anticipate. Generally, there isn’t an “average” pain and suffering settlement.

Every car accident case is unique. For this reason, it’s not possible to indicate any average settlement for damages, including pain and suffering damages. Because damages are all case-specific, you won’t know how much your pain and suffering damages may be worth until you discuss the situation with an experienced attorney.

Limits to Pain and Suffering Damages

Pain and suffering damages can significantly provide the necessary compensation to help you shoulder the financial burdens that arise following a car accident. However, in some states, these damages are limited, so you may only be able to obtain a set amount.

“Damage caps” put a limit on the amount of damages you can receive. Different types of damages, including non-economic and punitive, may be capped.

In some states, pain and suffering damages may be capped at a certain amount. If your state caps non-economic damages (or pain and suffering damages in particular), you cannot obtain an unlimited amount of money.

Not all states have damage caps, though. If you’re wondering whether your state has damage caps for your car accident case, do not hesitate to consult with an attorney.

A Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You with Your Pursuit of Pain and Suffering Damages

Seeking pain and suffering damages can be quite challenging. It requires skill and the right evidence to obtain these damages. When you have an experienced car accident attorney handling your case, you can feel confident knowing your lawyer will do everything necessary to get you the compensation you’re owed.

A car accident attorney’s primary objective is to get you the financial recovery you need and deserve for your accident-related injuries and losses. Your lawyer can handle crucial case tasks to pursue fair compensation, including thoroughly investigating your accident, gathering pertinent evidence, and negotiating a fair settlement.

You usually only have one shot to acquire monetary recovery after an accident, and with the right attorney, one opportunity is all you need. Having a personal injury lawyer on your case gives you a much better chance of getting the compensation you’re entitled to receive, including pain and suffering damages.