How Pain and Suffering Factors Into Auto Accident Claims
After you’ve been injured in a car accident and you’ve filed a claim with an insurance company, that carrier will take your overall pain and suffering into account when creating a settlement offer. Over three million people are injured in car accidents every year. When you have questions about the insurance claims process and how your injuries are taken into consideration, contact one of our auto accident attorneys so that we can give you the answers you’re seeking.
What Is Pain and Suffering?
If you’ve been injured in a car accident and you’re considering the possibility of filing an accident claim with either your insurance provider or that of the other driver, it’s possible that the trauma you’ve suffered would qualify for compensation related to the pain and suffering you’ve undergone. Pain and suffering is a legal term that typically refers to the stress you’ve experienced from your injuries. This stress could be anything from the physical pain you’ve endured to any psychological or emotional trauma you’re going through. The latter category pertains to issues such as:
- Feelings of depression
- Severe anxiety
- Fear of driving
Pain and suffering compensation in a personal injury claim is considered separate from medical bills and lost wages that can be recovered. Although it constitutes a separate category from the medical expenses that resulted from the injuries sustained, it usually only applies to individuals who did receive medical treatment for their injuries.
How Pain and Suffering Is Typically Calculated
Pain and suffering is somewhat more nebulous than medical expenses or lost wages, which means that different insurance companies can use different methods to calculate its relative value. The most common approaches include the per diem method and the multiplier method.
The multiplier method takes the total expenses from a victim’s medical bills and multiplies them by any number between one and five. Lower multipliers are used for less severe injuries. If the total medical expenses equal $2,500 and the insurance company uses a multiplier of two, the pain and suffering payment will be $5,000.
Another common method used to calculate pain and suffering is per diem, which is based entirely on daily suffering. If the injury in question keeps a person from performing daily activities, a standard compensation cost for that single day might be calculated. This cost would then be multiplied by the number of days during which the victim was incapacitated. That total would then be the final pain and suffering compensation.
Necessary Documentation for Proving Pain and Suffering
When an individual has been injured in an auto accident, he or she will typically be required by the insurance company to provide a range of documentation in order to prove that medical attention was sought, and emotional or physical pain and suffering occurred. These documents could extend from medical bills to receipts for over-the-counter or prescription medications. Proof of lost wages is also commonly provided in a personal injury case that has resulted from an auto accident, and this might bolster a claim of pain and suffering. As is the case with how this factor is calculated, the documentation that’s necessary to prove it will vary from one insurance company to another.
The firm of Rebenack, Aronow & Mascolo, LLP – RAM Law – deals specifically with personal injury law, and we’re experienced with litigation. We prepare every case for the eventuality that it might go to trial. If you’re trying to file an auto accident claim for injuries that you’ve incurred, call our Somerville office at (908) 448-2560 or our New Brunswick office at (732) 247-4600 to speak with an auto accident attorney who can guide you through the process. If you received a settlement offer from an insurance provider but you don’t agree with the amount that was proposed, contact us to arrange a consultation. We’ll be happy to meet with you to discuss what you should do next.