When you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident, it can be hard to put a dollar value on the pain and suffering you’re experiencing. The physical pain of a bad injury can be enormous. And the mental trauma of an accident can be emotionally devastating. Both physical and emotional pain are subjective, making them very hard to quantify. And there isn’t one simple formula that insurers or car accident attorneys use to come up with pain and suffering settlement amounts.
To help figure out how to calculate pain and suffering in a car accident settlement, it’s important to first learn about both economic and pain and suffering damages in car accident claims.
Damages in Car Accident Settlement Claims
There are different types of damages you can ask for in car accident injury claims. They are generally categorized as economic and non-economic damages.
Damages such as payment of medical expenses for the injuries you suffered in the crash and lost wages when you were too injured to go to work are called economic damages. These monetary damages can be measured by adding up doctor and other medical bills and by multiplying how many days you missed at work by how much you are paid each day.
In contrast, pain and suffering damages are not so concrete and easy to measure. Pain and suffering damages include payment for the chronic physical pain you are now faced with. Pain and suffering can include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) caused by the accident. If you’ve been badly scarred or burned in a visible place, it can include payment for the humiliation or embarrassment these physical disfigurements cause you. If you can no longer participate in certain activities you enjoy because of your injuries, you may also receive payment for this loss of enjoyment as part of pain and suffering damages.
Calculations Used for Pain and Suffering Damages
There is no one set formula for calculating pain and suffering settlements in car accidents. There are a couple of different methods that may be used to arrive at an initial figure.
Multiply Economic Damages
One way of calculating pain and suffering damages is to multiply the economic damages in your case by a multiplier. How high the multiplier is may depend on the seriousness of your injuries. If your injuries are more serious, a higher number would be used.
Use the “Per Diem” Method
The per diem method calculates pain and suffering based on a daily rate. This method asks for a certain amount of money for each day that you suffer the effects of your injury accident. Sometimes people arrive at their daily rate based on how much they earn on the job each day. However you determine a rate, you will need to explain your reasoning for using that daily rate.
Pain and Suffering Settlement Examples
Here are a couple of examples of how these methods work:
Multiplier method: If your medical bills and lost wages added up to $20,000 and you decided to use a multiplier of “3” because your injuries were fairly serious, you would ask for $60,000 for pain and suffering, because 3 x $20,000 = $60,000.
Per diem method: Say you use your daily earnings as your daily rate and your earnings are $200 a day. Let’s say that you experienced physical pain or emotional trauma or both every day for two months, or a total of 60 days, following your accident. You would multiply $200 x 60 to arrive at a pain and suffering figure of $12,000.
Don’t forget that the pain and suffering amount you ask for will be in addition to your economic damages.
Arriving at a Final Value for Pain and Suffering Damages in a Car Accident
You might use one of these methods or a combination of both of them as a starting point for arriving at a value range for your pain and suffering damages. In calculating a final pain and suffering number for your car accident, other things will also be taken into account. A big one is whether your pain is temporary or permanent. The daily rate method may not be feasible if you have permanent injuries. For long-term or permanent injuries, car accident attorneys who handle these types of cases will look at a variety of other factors, including recent similar cases that have settled and what those settlement amounts were.
Get Help from an Experienced Houston Car Accident Lawyer
Many serious injuries can be caused by a car accident. And every year in Harris County, there are tens of thousands of serious injury accidents, according to Texas Department of Transportation figures. Serious injuries cost people much more than just doctor bills and lost wages. They can create many other problems that a person wouldn’t have faced if not for the negligent driver or other party who caused the accident. When you’ve been the victim of a negligent accident, you deserve to get compensation that pays for all of your losses so you can begin moving on with your life. Arriving at a pain and suffering amount that will adequately cover your losses can be a complex process. First you have to calculate the amount, and then you have to prove to an insurance company or jury how you got to that amount and why you need it. This is where a skilled car accident attorney at the accident and injury law office of Terry Bryant can help you get the compensation you deserve.
We Have Extensive Experience Determining Settlement Value Ranges
We have extensive experience calculating pain and suffering damages and assertively negotiating with insurance companies. When we meet with you and learn about your case, we will calculate what we believe your pain and suffering damages are worth. And then we will help you determine a total value range for all of your damages. To arrange a free consultation about your case, call our law firm at (713) 973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000 today. We look forward to helping you get the settlement you need for the damages you’ve suffered.
Terry Bryant is Board Certified in personal injury trial law, which means his extensive knowledge of the law has been recognized by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, setting him apart from many other injury attorneys. The 22 years he spent as a Municipal Judge, Spring Valley Village, TX also provides him keen insight into the Texas court system. That experience also helps shape his perspective on personal injury cases and how they might resolve. This unique insight benefits his clients. [ Attorney Bio ]