Calculating pain and suffering claims in a personal injury lawsuit is a complex process that involves assessing the subjective emotional and physical impact the injury has had on the victim’s life.
Unlike economic damages (such as medical expenses or lost wages), pain and suffering are considered non-economic damages.
Methods to Calculate Pain and Suffering Claims
There is no one-size-fits-all formula for calculating pain and suffering claims, but here are some common methods used:
1. Multiplier Method:
This approach involves multiplying the total economic damages (medical expenses, lost wages, etc.) by a certain factor (usually between 1.5 and 5) to determine the value of pain and suffering claims. The multiplier is often chosen based on the severity of the injuries, the impact on the victim’s life, and other relevant factors.
2. Per Diem Method:
With this method, a specific daily rate is assigned for the pain and suffering experienced by the injured person. The rate is then multiplied by the number of days the victim has experienced pain and suffering due to the injury.
3. “Perception of Value” Method:
This method involves assessing how much a jury or the opposing party perceives the pain and suffering to be worth. The value is based on similar cases and jury awards in the past.
4. “Loss of Enjoyment” Method:
This approach focuses on the impact the injury has on the victim’s ability to enjoy life, hobbies, activities, and personal relationships. The value is determined based on the extent to which the injury has diminished the victim’s quality of life.
5. Expert Testimony:
In some cases, experts may be called upon to provide their professional opinion on the value of pain and suffering claims. These experts could be medical professionals, psychologists, or other specialists familiar with the impact of such injuries on an individual’s life.
It’s important to note that different jurisdictions may have their own guidelines or rules for calculating pain and suffering damages, and some states may have statutory caps on non-economic damages.
Additionally, the strength of the evidence presented, the credibility of witnesses, and the skills of the attorneys involved can also influence the final valuation.
Since evaluating pain and suffering claims is highly subjective, having an experienced personal injury attorney is crucial. They can help build a compelling case, gather relevant evidence, and argue for fair compensation based on the specific circumstances of the injury and its impact on the victim’s life.
If you want advice and perspective from an experienced pain and suffering expert attorney who has won millions for clients, contact McKay Law at Call now: (903) INJURED / (903) 465-8733 or (903) ABOGADA / (903) 226-4232 – or submit your case for a free case review.
What Are Frequently Asked Questions On How To Maximize Pain and Suffering Claims?
When dealing with pain and suffering claims in a personal injury lawsuit, there are several frequently asked questions that often come up. Here are some of them:
- What is pain and suffering in a personal injury case?
- How is pain and suffering different from economic damages?
- Can I claim pain and suffering if I wasn’t seriously injured?
- How do I prove pain and suffering in my case?
- How are the value of pain and suffering claims calculated?
- Is there a cap or limit on pain and suffering damages in my state?
- Can I claim pain and suffering for emotional distress or psychological trauma?
- Will my medical records be used as evidence for pain and suffering?
- Can I claim pain and suffering for an accident that aggravated a pre-existing condition?
- How long does it take to resolve pain and suffering claims?
- What factors can influence the amount of pain and suffering compensation I receive?
- Can pain and suffering be awarded in cases of wrongful death?
- What if the insurance company disputes my pain and suffering claims?
- Do pain and suffering damages differ in settlement negotiations vs. a court trial?
- Can I claim pain and suffering claims if the at-fault party doesn’t have insurance?
The foregoing questions cover a range of concerns regarding pain and suffering claims, but it’s important to remember that each personal injury case is unique. The answers to these questions will depend on the specific circumstances of the case, the applicable laws in the jurisdiction, and the evidence presented during the legal process.
For accurate and personalized answers, it’s best to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can guide you through your specific situation and advocate for your rights in the county where you were injured.
If you want advice and perspective from an experienced pain and suffering expert attorney who has won millions for clients, contact (903) INJURED / (903) 465-8733 or (903) ABOGADA / (903) 226-4232 – or submit your case for a free case review.
What Is the Average Settlement Amount for Pain and Suffering?
In every settlement where someone is awarded money for pain and suffering, numerous factors are taken into account. The severity of the injury, type of medical treatment, length of recovery time, and long-term effects of the personal injuries. Other factors include the amount of insurance coverage available (policy limits) and the type of personal injury case.
The typical payout for most pain and suffering claims is under $15,000. This result is because most pain and suffering claims involve small injuries. The severity of the injury is a major factor that affects the value of pain and suffering damages. If you look at the larger pain and suffering amounts in Texas, you will find a few common denominators.
In most pain and suffering calculations in personal injury cases, the injured victim will not get large sums of money because most cases don’t result in the injured victim going to the hospital and having emergency surgery.
Is it likely insurers will pay more for pain and suffering if the car is totaled?
Yes, a car accident settlement will probably be higher if the car is totaled or the damage is large. For settlement purposes, if the victim has soft tissue injuries, the pain and suffering claims value will be higher. Soft tissue injuries include whiplash, neck and/or back pain or any pain without a broken bone.
Does a demand letter get you an offer for pain, suffering, and more?
When trying to settle a case before a lawsuit, many attorneys send a letter that explains why the other person (or business) is at fault. This letter also outlines the victim’s medical treatment.
A demand letter is not necessary to get a settlement offer from an insurance company. However, making demand does indicate you are organized, intelligent and serious.
In certain cases, it may be disadvantageous to make pain and suffering claims for specific amounts of money for pain and suffering. The reason is quite simple:
If you demand a specified amount of money, the defendant can use your demand as a basis to remove the case to federal court. Some large defendants, like Walmart and Target, prefer defending pain and suffering claims in federal court.
They believe that there is a higher chance that the case gets dismissed in federal court. This is particularly true in slip and fall cases.
Will the insurance company’s first offer be reasonable?
No, unless your personal injury case is worth equal to or more than the insurance policy limits.
As an example, typical insurance company opening offers are $10,000 in different cases. Yet, I’ve ended up settling some of these cases for over $100,000.
What about people who try to get a pain and suffering settlement without an attorney?
Insurance adjusters recognize that most people (without an attorney) are poor and ineffective negotiators. Some people are absolutely terrible negotiators. Victims don’t have 20+ years of experience fighting for pain and suffering payouts like the lawyers at McKay Law.
Unsuspecting victims often leave hundreds of thousands (or more) dollars on the table! Clients tell us the amount that they want to ask for. In serious injury cases, our client’s initial settlement demand suggestions are often way too low. They simply don’t value their pain and suffering damages properly.
How do we prove our client’s pain and suffering?
The most compelling proof of your pain and suffering is your medical records and medical bills. Additionally, in cases where you have serious visible injuries such as cuts and bruises, photos can be great to show your pain and suffering. Videos showing your surgery can also be great, especially if the surgeon put pins and screws in your body.
If your case reaches the lawsuit phase, your testimony under oath will be another factor in any ultimate pain and suffering award or offer. The defense attorney will look at your medical records. He or she will ask you questions to see if you are exaggerating your pain and suffering.
At every medical visit, the doctor asks you about your pain level. He or she records it in every medical record. Therefore, this record is permanently recorded. Don’t think that you are outsmarting the insurance company when you later tell them that your pain level was a 9 or 10 (out of 10), but you told the doctor it was a 1 or 2.
Do Most Car Accident Settlement Stories Say How Much Was Paid for Pain and Suffering Claims?
No! Absolutely not!! Recently, the average personal injury settlement for bodily injury is $20,235. Average property damage is $4,711.00. These are substantial figures. However, it does not tell you how much money was specifically paid for pain and suffering.
Pain and suffering is just one type of damages for which you may be able to get money. (Medical bills and lost wages are additional.)
The Insurance Services Office (ISO) created the image below. They are the same office that keeps track of all of your claims. Yes, there is a record of all of your accident settlements (and pain and suffering claims).
The $18,417 average settlement figure (above) includes loss adjustment expenses. An example of an expense is when the insurance company hires an investigator to take photos of the accident scene.
In Texas, drivers are required to have liability insurance. Insurance pays out compensation to victims when the policyholder is at fault. But the insurer pays only up to policy limits. If damages exceed the amount of insurance coverage, the insurer will seldom pay the excess.
It is possible for accident victims to pursue pain and suffering claims against the at-fault driver directly for losses not covered by insurance. But many people don’t have enough assets to actually pay additional damages even if the court were to award them.
As a result, if an insurance company makes a settlement offer at the policy limit, pursuing a court case to try to obtain additional compensation may not be worth the time and effort if the defendant does not have substantial assets.
When liability is clear in a collision, this can result in a larger settlement. The insurer representing the driver who is at fault for the crash will customarily accept responsibility and likely provide a reasonable settlement offer with the goal of avoiding a lawsuit.
If a fault is uncertain, a settlement may not be forthcoming, or a settlement offer may be considerably lower. If the fault is shared between the drivers, this can have a major impact on car accident compensation. Here’s what happens when the fault is split or shared, with both drivers partly to blame for the accident:
- In some states, called contributory negligence states, if a driver is even 1% at fault for a collision, he cannot collect any compensation from the other motorist who was mostly to blame.
- In pure comparative negligence states, however, a driver can collect compensation from another motorist for injuries even if the driver was mostly at fault. For example, a driver who was 75% responsible for a crash could still pursue pain and suffering claims against the other motorist and could receive compensation for 25% of total losses.
- In modified comparative negligence states, a driver can pursue pain and suffering claims for compensation as long as he is not 50% or 51% responsible for the crash. Again, compensation would be reduced based on the driver’s share of the fault.
Severity of Injuries
The severity of injury is a major factor determining typical car accident settlement amounts. The Martindale-Nolo survey revealed the average compensation for car accident victims who were not injured was $16,700, while the average award for injured crash victims was $29,700.
In some states, called no-fault states, drivers must first rely on their own insurance coverage to pay for their own injuries or injuries to their passengers. Once their coverage is exhausted, they can seek compensation from the other driver’s insurance.
Drivers must buy personal injury protection, which typically covers up to $10,000 in medical bills and lost wages. For these minor injuries, additional damages, such as compensation for pain and suffering claims, are not generally available.
In fault states, on the other hand, the driver who caused the crash will always be responsible for losses. In these states, even relatively minor crashes can result in settlement offers from the at-fault driver’s insurer that may provide more comprehensive compensation.
Finally, the extent of financial loss affects typical car accident settlement amounts. The settlement is generally designed to make a crash victim whole for the losses the collision caused. This includes both losses related to injuries, such as lost wages, as well as losses related to property damage.
If a motorist sustained substantial losses due to missed work, medical bills, and extensive property damage, the settlement will reflect these circumstances.
If you want advice and perspective from an experienced pain and suffering expert attorney who has won millions for clients, contact McKay Law at (903) INJURED / (903) 465-8733 or (903) ABOGADA / (903) 226-4232 – or submit your case for a free case review.
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Before you negotiate or sign anything, learn your rights and how to protect yourself and your family. A personal injury lawyer can talk to you about your legal options, how to avoid common mistakes, and how to maximize your pain and suffering claims.