If you’ve been in an auto accident, it’s likely that you will have sustained injuries. If the accident was caused by a driver or group that was negligent, it’s possible that you may wish to file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party. Doing so may also be the best course of action if you’re facing an unfair insurance settlement offer.
When deciding whether to file a claim or not, one of the issues that will come up with your attorney is the issue of determining the amount of compensation, or damages, you are owed. Determining compensation is complex and you want to make sure that you’re not getting less than you deserve.
There are a few different types of damages that may be considered during the process of filing a claim. One is referred to as ‘pain and suffering’. If you’re wondering why pain and suffering is difficult to calculate, you should know more about the types of damages that you can recover in a car accident. Let’s take a look at the kinds of losses that an auto wreck can cause and their differences:
How Does Pain and Suffering Differ from Other Damages?
After an accident that caused injuries, you will likely need treatment. This could include staying in a hospital, requiring tests, medication, and sometimes surgery. Treatment can be expensive, and you may be at a loss for how you’re going to pay back the bill. Your hospital bills and future care expenses are damages that you can recover compensation for. As you recover, you’re also unlikely to be working during this time. Your lost wages can also be included in your settlement.
On the more extreme end of injuries, you may have an injury that’s considered catastrophic. This can affect your ability to return to your job or be gainfully employed, so you won’t be able to depend on a paycheck. For many, this can mean they will no longer be able to support their household. You can also seek compensation for loss of earnings, where your settlement will reflect what you would have earned had you been able to continue to work.
The damages above are referred to as economic damages. You can add up the hospital bills, look at the paychecks that were missed, and use that numerical value to determine compensation. But pain and suffering isn’t as simple as that. This type of damages is referred to as another type called noneconomic.
‘Pain and suffering’ is the term used to describe the physical and mental anguish or distress that the person has endured as a result of the accident. Assigning a financial amount to judge how much they’ve suffered is extremely difficult and there are so many factors to take into consideration.
The future consequences of the accident are also included in pain and suffering. You may never be able to return to your job again or participate in sports or activities you previously enjoyed. Your life may also have a severe change where your mobility is affected. When you cannot move around as much as you used to, you will have to adapt. Doing simple tasks like picking up your child or taking them to school may no longer be feasible for you, or if you attempt to it causes you great pain. Having an injury take those things away from you can cause immeasurable pain, so how does pain and suffering calculations work?
How Do Lawyers Calculate Pain and Suffering?
Your lawyer keeps everything mentioned above in mind when figuring out your settlement. When it comes time to calculate pain and suffering there are some methods they can use to determine an appropriate amount.
The multiplier method requires a scale of 1.5-5. After your lawyer finds the total of your economic damages, they will multiply it by a number on the scale. The higher the number is, the more traumatic your injuries were. The lawyer will determine the correct multiplier.
If you were in an accident where you sustained minor injuries but are expected to make a full recovery, then your multiplier will likely be 1.5. However, if you sustained catastrophic injuries that have severely changed your life, then your multiplier will likely be at the higher end. To get the highest multiplier, your injuries will likely require constant care and assistance.
Per Diem Method
This method multiplies what you earn in a day and how long you suffered from your accident injury. So, minor injuries that cause a few weeks of suffering will have lower settlement amounts. However, if you have major injuries that required surgery and you were suffering for months, then your settlement amount will be significantly larger.
You may be wondering why lawyers do these calculations when the insurance company does them as well with a pain and suffering calculator. Whatever number they land on, there’s a strong chance it’s less than you deserve. That’s why we find an appropriate settlement amount before we meet with the other party. We’ll have this number in mind and fight to get you a favorable settlement.
Protect Your Auto Accident Compensation
When filing a claim, you want to make sure that you’re not doing anything that could affect your compensation. Unfortunately, there are mistakes you can make that could reduce your settlement. We’ll be able to advise you on what to do, but there are a few actions you can take after the accident that will help your claim.
You should seek medical attention as soon as possible. You’ll get an evaluation of your injuries and you’ll be able to start treating them. The medical records will also show that you had to go to a physician and you required treatment. The physician’s evaluation will help show how severe your injuries are. You also need to follow the treatment plan. Ignoring a doctor’s orders could allow your injuries to worsen and the insurance company could claim that you weren’t in that much pain because you didn’t follow the plan.
If your injuries worsen because you didn’t seek treatment or didn’t do what the doctor tells you, then you may not get compensation for the medical care you’ll require. Your settlement may cover up to your initial injuries, but beyond that it will come out of your pocket because you allowed it get worse. Injuries they may have taken some time to heal but would have eventually fully healed may have turned into injuries that will leave you with chronic pain and problems.
You shouldn’t sign anything or make any official statements to the insurance company. They can use these statements against you and can often bring them up in confusing ways. If someone asks how you are doing, you may think it’s just a polite question. Most people typically answer that they’re fine regardless of their actual condition. If you answer like this in a recorded statement, it could be used to say that your health and injuries are okay because you said so.
Talking about your injuries can also affect your settlement because you may list what hurts, but not know the true injury. If you complain about back pain, but then later find out it’s from a neck injury, your statement of back pain could be viewed as you trying to get more compensation.
Social media is also a tool that can be used against you. It’s ill-advised to post anything about your accident or any photos of you after the accident. In fact, it may be prudent to not update your social media for a while, or at least until you speak with your attorney. Any facts or information you reveal can be used against you, as well as photographs can be used to show that your injuries aren’t as severe as you claim.
All these scenarios can be overwhelming, but it’s important to know that your first step to getting financial recovery is by contacting a personal injury lawyer. We will be able to tell you what information you can and cannot say. We can communicate on your behalf with the insurance company so they can no longer harass you or try to make you reveal something that could be used to reduce your settlement.
The Law Office of Todd W. Burris Can Represent You
We understand the difficulties you’re facing. But we can help you recover compensation so you can take care of the financial stresses in your life. You shouldn’t have to worry about accidentally hurting your claim. When someone acts negligently and harms you, the financial responsibility for your injuries shouldn’t fall on you. You deserve a settlement that will give you peace of mind.
If you’ve been injured in Kentucky, you should get in touch with the Law Office of Todd W. Burris as soon as possible. We’ve calculated pain and suffering and fair settlements for auto accidents and more. No case is too unique, and we’re prepared to help those who were harmed because of recklessness. When you have experienced legal representatives at your side, you have a better chance of getting a favorable outcome. We’ll help you get on the road to recovery today.