What Is Fair Compensation For Pain And Suffering
People who suffer injuries because of someone else's negligence can seek compensation for their financial, physical, and emotional losses. One of the damages that may be available to an injured victim is pain and suffering. But what is fair compensation for pain and suffering? That is a challenging and complex question to answer appropriately without evaluating all of the factors surrounding an injured party's case. An experienced personal injury attorney can help understand how pain and suffering damages are calculated. The skilled and dedicated attorney at The Mark Casto Law Firm work on personal injury cases to help their clients get the compensation they need to move forward with their lives. Ensure your legal right to compensation for pain and suffering remains protected by contacting our legal team today at 706-940-4030.
What Are Pain and Suffering Damages?
The term “pain and suffering” refers to the emotional and physical harm a person experiences after an accident caused by someone else's negligence. Basically, these intangible losses are meant to compensate the injured victim for having to go through the physical and emotional suffering and pain that they otherwise would not have gone through if the accident had never happened.
Depending on the type of the accident, the severity of the injury, and the facts surrounding the case, pain and suffering damages may account for a large portion of the personal injury settlement amount or verdict. Typically, courts examine a number of factors to determine what is fair compensation for pain and suffering.
Physical Pain and Suffering
Broadly speaking, there are two categories of pain and suffering damages: physical and emotional. The pain resulting from physical injuries after an accident can last for weeks, months, years, or the rest of the injured party's life. Depending on the type of the injury, the victim may experience:
- Back or neck pain
- Abdominal pain
It is vital to pay attention to pain following an accident. For example, according to Cleveland Clinic, pain in the neck may be a sign of whiplash or another more life-threating injury. It is important to note that pain may not be apparent immediately after the accident due to the rush of adrenaline. Once the adrenaline and stress subside, the victim may feel the full extent of the injury. Whether or not you feel immediate pain after an accident, you should always seek a full medical evaluation.
Emotional Pain and Suffering
Pain can be not only physical but also emotional. This type of pain is also known as emotional distress. Emotional pain is associated with a number of symptoms and feelings, including:
- Cognitive or behavioral changes
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Diminished quality of life
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
According to a study published in BC Medical Journal, PTSD occurs in at least 10% of car accident survivors. Emotional pain and suffering damages are meant to compensate a victim for the psychological and emotional impact of the injury on the victim's daily life. Since non-economic damages cannot be quantified by a bill or receipt, determining fair compensation for emotional pain can be complex. The personal injury attorneys at The Mark Casto Law Firm evaluate all factors surrounding a client's case to determine the value of non-economic losses.
Factors That Affect Compensation for Pain and Suffering
There are many factors that insurance companies, attorneys, judges, and juries look into when determining what is fair compensation for pain and suffering. In most cases, the following factors come into play when calculating pain and suffering damages:
- The severity of the injuries
- The impact of the injuries on the victim's daily life
- The victim's ability to continue working
- The victim's ability to enjoy their life to the fullest
- The egregiousness of the defendant's conduct
- The victim's emotional, psychological, and mental well-being after the accident
- Whether or not the victim is expected to fully recover
- The kind of medical procedures the victim has undergone and will undergo during the treatment
Determining the extent of a victim's pain and suffering damages is more subjective and challenging than calculating medical bills, lost wages, and other economic damages. Non-economic damages cannot be objectively measured as easily as economic ones, which makes the process of determining fair compensation more difficult.
Methods for Calculating Fair Pain and Suffering Damages
There are several methods for calculating pain and suffering damages. Most frequently, insurance companies and attorneys use two methods for determining fair compensation for an injured victim's physical pain and emotional suffering:
- The multiplier method. The victim's actual losses (e.g., medical expenses and lost wages) are multiplied by a number that usually ranges from one to five depending on how severe the victim's injury is. For example, if a plaintiff's actual damages were $7,000 because of a fractured leg, his or her damages might be multiplied by three, resulting in $21,000 in pain and suffering damages.
- The per diem method. This method assigns a certain amount of money to compensate the victim for every day of their suffering until their recovery. For example, if the per diem amount is $50 and the victim needs 360 days to fully recover, his or her pain and suffering damages may amount to $18,000.
Many insurance companies have their own calculators for determining the appropriate award for pain and suffering. However, there may be questions about the accuracy and reliability of these calculators, especially considering that insurance companies are not interested in settling the victim's case for a fair amount. For this reason, a victim might want to consider hiring a personal injury attorney to help them fight for fair compensation for pain and suffering and other damages.
Can You Receive Fair Compensation for Pain and Suffering?
When an insurance company offers to settle a personal injury claim, and the settlement includes compensation for pain and suffering, a victim may not know whether they should accept the offer or not. Determining fair compensation for non-economic damages can be a complicated and time-consuming matter. A personal injury attorney can examine a wide range of factors to estimate the value of the injured victim's pain and suffering damages and ensure that the settlement offer is fair and reasonable under the law. The experienced personal injury attorneys at The Mark Casto Law Firm help clients decide what is fair compensation for pain and suffering and fight tirelessly on behalf of each client to obtain the compensation they need. Call 706-940-4030 for a free consultation today.