Pain And Suffering In Personal Injury Claims
If you get hurt in a car accident and get injured, chances are you’ll file a personal injury claim. Your claim will include the cost of medical treatment as a result of the accident; however, you may also be entitled to reimbursement for pain and suffering.
Here we’ll define pain and suffering and give some general guidelines for how it gets calculated by car insurance companies.
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Pain and Suffering Defined
Pain and suffering is considered the stress you experience from your injuries. It can include:
- Physical pain.
- Emotional and psychological trauma such as insomnia, fear, depressed mood, and anxiety.
The definition is vague, but the law allows you to file an insurance claim for pain and suffering compensation. This amount is separate from lost wages and other medical expenses, such as x-rays, medications, and hospital visits.
If you do not seek medical treatment for the injuries that you sustain in a car accident, your car insurance company is unlikely to accept your claim of pain and suffering. Remember that the best ways to get adequate compensation for your claim are to:
- Get immediate medical attention.
- Document your symptoms as well as any care received.
How Pain and Suffering Gets Calculated
There is no standard way to calculate the costs of pain and suffering. However, some commonly used methods by car insurance companies include:
- Multiplier method: Multiply the total medical bills related to the car accident injuries by a number from 1 (for more minor injuries) to 5 (for more severe injuries) to find the pain and suffering amount.
- Per diem method: Use a formula based on daily suffering.
- For instance, if your knee got hurt in a car accident, you would gauge your daily pain and all of the daily activities you can’t perform due to your injury. You would then pin a compensation cost to each day and multiply this figure by the number of days you've been injured.
- Estimation of a generalized cost.
In general, the more serious your injuries, the greater amount of compensation you can expect for your pain and suffering. Remember, going to the doctor will substantiate your personal injury claim and show that you were in fact suffering symptoms that required medical attention.
Documentation to Prove Pain and Suffering
Whichever method you choose, be aware that you will need to provide the car insurance company with proof and evidence to support your personal injury claim. Provide as much documentation as you can, such as the following.
- Medical reports.
- Prescription receipts.
- Over-the-counter medication receipts.
- Medical bills, if applicable, for therapy, ambulance costs, x-rays, emergency room visits, and more.
- Proof of lost wages or time off from school.
- A log of all medical treatment, pain, and missed activities.
- Photos of your injuries.
Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you don't think you will be able to get the compensation you think you deserve working solely with your claims adjustor, consider hiring a personal injury lawyer.
These attorneys are experienced with the abstract nature of pain and suffering claims and will use their experience to help you establish a claims amount. They can also help you gather evidence and present your personal injury claim in the way that is most likely to have a favorable outcome.