A devastating auto accident can have a lasting effect on your physical and emotional well-being. As a result, you have the right to seek compensation for the losses associated with physical and psychological pain and suffering. However, calculating economic losses is much more straightforward than pain and suffering. Additionally, you must provide evidence to support both. With the help of a personal injury attorney, you can build a solid case to get the financial help you need to strengthen your path to physical, economic, and emotional recovery.
Economic and Non-Economic Damages From a Car Accident
Pain and suffering is a non-economic damage and only one element of your claim. While every car accident case is different, most result in some variation of the following economic and non-economic losses:
- Cost of medical treatment: ambulance expenses, medications and medical devices, surgeries, emergency room care, physical or occupational therapy, doctor's visits, and hospital stays
- Loss of income: wages lost from missed work following the accident and wages lost from permanent disability causing a loss of earning capacity
- Damaged property: cost of repairing or replacing the vehicle damaged in the crash
- Pain and suffering: physical and emotional distress, mental anguish, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and loss of enjoyment of life
Suppose you file a wrongful death case seeking damages for the loss of someone you loved. In that case, you can also file for specific damages, such as the cost of medical care for the deceased, the cost of funeral and burial expenses, and the loss of income and benefits the deceased would have provided. Additionally, you may request compensation for your own pain and suffering, including the loss of companionship or loss of consortium if you were the victim's spouse. Once you identify all the recoverable damages in your case, you can calculate the total compensation you deserve.
Two Methods for Calculating Pain and Suffering
The first step in determining the monetary value of pain and suffering in your case is calculating the economic damages. This step is relatively simple, albeit sometimes tedious, given that medical bills, missed income, and property damage all have inherent monetary values. You can apply the multiplier or per diem method to determine a value for pain and suffering.
The multiplier method entails taking a number between 1.5 and 5 and multiplying it by the sum of your economic losses. The appropriate number depends on the severity of your accident and injuries. For example, a four or five would be on the high end, representing injuries with substantial damages, such as permanent disability, impairment, or dismemberment. Questions to consider include:
- How do your injuries impact your life daily?
- How long will it take you to make a full recovery?
- Did you suffer any injuries that will never fully recover?
- How clear is the evidence that the other party was at fault for the accident?
The multiplier method is the most commonly used by insurance companies and civil courts. You will likely face pushback from the adjustor, who will argue for a lower multiplier, but a personal injury attorney has experience gathering sufficient evidence to support your claim.
Per Diem Method
The second approach to calculating pain and suffering is the per diem method, which is used far less often than the multiplier method. The term "per diem" means "per day" in Latin, and the idea is that you can demand monetary compensation for each day you suffer pain due to your injuries. The challenging element to prove in this method is the value of your daily rate. Typically, you can use the amount you would normally receive for a day of work. This method can be challenging to adapt to cases with long-term pain and suffering from injuries causing permanent disability or impairment.
Steps To Take To Protect Your Right to Compensation
Your claims of negligence and damages are only as strong as the evidence you provide. While not everyone has the chance to document a car accident immediately after it occurs, you can still take some steps, such as contacting a lawyer as soon as possible, to ensure you protect your right to compensation. Consider what you can do in the aftermath of a crash:
- Report the accident to the police. If anyone suffered injuries, you should call 911 immediately. The police will arrive with first responders and investigate the accident, potentially determining who was at fault. If you do not need emergency medical care, you should still file a police report and give a statement to the police.
- Document the scene. Take photographs or record a video of the accident scene, including your visible injuries, damage to both vehicles, the surrounding area, and any traffic lights or signs.
- Gather information. Get the other driver's contact and insurance information and talk to any eyewitnesses about providing their names and phone numbers.
- Seek medical attention. Not all accidents require an ambulance, but you should still visit a doctor as soon as possible. You can go to the emergency department or urgent care or see your primary care physician. The critical point is that you see someone to document your injuries in medical records immediately and get the care you need. Sometimes the adrenaline of a car accident can mask internal injuries until they do irreparable damage.
- Contact a personal injury lawyer. It is never too soon to contact an attorney and provide the details of your case while they are freshest in your mind. An attorney can help you make decisions that will protect your right to compensation from the start so that you do not make mistakes that could damage your claim.
In the moments following the collision and throughout the process of your case, you should avoid talking to anyone other than your attorney. It is natural to apologize or want to speak to the other driver, but you risk saying something that could imply guilt. Additionally, it is best to avoid social media altogether. The insurance company will likely monitor your pages on various platforms for evidence allowing them to shift blame.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You
If you suffered severe injuries due to a car accident caused by the other driver, you have the right to seek compensation not just for the apparent physical injuries but also for the mental and emotional distress directly related to the accident. A personal injury lawyer can help you identify all the potentially recoverable damages in your case and adequately value those losses. In addition, car accident victims overwhelmingly receive a larger settlement with the help of an experienced legal representative. Therefore, the first step in rebuilding your life is to reach out to an attorney.
At Johnson Attorneys Group, our team of legal experts has years of experience working with victims of car accidents. We know your financial, mental, and physical burdens and understand the frustration of facing a negligent driver. We firmly believe you deserve aggressive representation without the worry of cost. That is why we offer our services at no upfront charge and work on the contingency that we only get paid if you receive a settlement or award. Contact Johnson Attorneys Group for your free case evaluation. We are available 24 hours a day at (800) 208-3538 to answer your questions and help you make the best decision for you and your family.