If you’ve recently been in a car accident, you might be wondering how much you will actually get for pain and suffering if you file a suit. The answer is probably not as straightforward as you’d like, but there are ways to calculate some type of estimate.
Insurance companies use different methods to come up with these numbers. Their totals usually include compensation for pain and suffering, along with actual damages (lost wages and medical bills). To figure out a more accurate amount for just the pain and suffering, you’ll have to look at several factors.
How insurance companies determine pain and suffering
Insurance companies typically use one of two methods to calculate pain and suffering damages in an injury. The first is the multiplier method. This method multiplies the lost wages and medical bills total by a predetermined number. Most of the time, this number is three, but that’s really just a rough estimate reflecting typical winnings.
To give you an idea of what your pain and suffering calculation might be, let’s say that the total of your lost wages and medical bills were $10,000. Using the multiplier method, you would multiply that by three to get $30,000. This is an estimate of how much you can expect to receive in pain and suffering.
The next method commonly used is the daily rate method. This basically allots a certain amount of compensation per day that you suffer from your injury. It also uses medical bills and lost wages in its calculation. This is a much more difficult calculation to guess as each insurance company, lawyer, and judge might come to this decision differently.
Keep in mind that neither of these methods will give you an exact estimate. There are many factors that go into determining how your pain and suffering is calculated. For example, your rates may be adjusted due to the severity of your injuries or the amount of your suffering. A mild injury you recover from quickly may only get you an award of twice the amount of actual damages. But a severe injury that keeps you out of work for a long period of time could cause a judge to award you four times that amount.
Pain and suffering limits
Most states do not limit the amount of pain and suffering a victim can receive. But at one time, certain states, such as Oklahoma did impose limits. However, the state recently overturned this cap, finding it unconstitutional to treat “people who survive injuries differently than those who don’t. But this is just for the US. Canada has taken a different view. The Canadian Supreme Court made the decision to cap pain and suffering compensation at $370,000 more than four decades ago.
What to do when you feel you’re entitled to pain and suffering
Not everyone injured in an accident is necessarily entitled to pain and suffering compensation. The ones who are have experienced certain symptoms or conditions that the legal system deems worthy. One type of pain and suffering is physical. With this, a person not only suffers discomfort and pain from the accident, but also ongoing effects as a result. The other type of pain and suffering is mental. This might include emotional distress, fear, and mental anguish. It basically means that the plaintiff has suffered some sort of loss in the enjoyment of his or her life.
If any of these symptoms have been medically diagnosed or are believed to be present, the victim could have cause for some added compensation. In a case like this, you should immediately contact a legal specialist, such as an Orange County car accident attorney. You will be asked to provide medical bills and related expenses, as well as documentation of your pain and suffering to date. At that point, your lawyer will be able to walk you through the process and give you much closer estimates of the amount of pain and suffering compensation you can expect to receive.