How are Pain and Suffering Determined in a Car Accident?

Following a car accident, you could be entitled to compensation. If the accident was not your fault, you could ask for economic and non-economic damages from the negligent party. Overall, economic damages are easy to calculate and prove. They include medical bills, lost wages, property damage, mileage expenses or similar costs. To determine economic damages, a lawyer would only have to look at bills and receipts.

Non-economic damages are not easily quantified or proved. These aim to put a monetary value on the physical pain and emotional stress caused by an accident.

Common examples of pain and suffering are:

  • Anxiety and mental anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment or depression
  • Physical impairment (whether temporary or permanent)
  • Medication side effects and associated discomfort
  • Disfigurement and its impact on the sufferer’s life
  • Loss of consortium 
  • Inconvenience
  • Reputation damage, and more. 

An accident attorney in Richmond would classify anything that causes loss of comfort, happiness or opportunity as pain and suffering.

How Would a Richmond Car Accident Attorney Calculate Pain and Suffering?

Calculating pain and suffering can be challenging. The pain and suffering suffered by one individual is unlikely to be the same as that of another person. To find out how much you can claim, you should consult an accident attorney in Richmond. Therefore, the attorney should be able to give you the best estimated value of your pain and suffering.

To determine how much you can get in pain and suffering, the accident attorney will look at:

  • How serious your injuries are
  • How much it will cost to treat your injuries
  • Discomfort and pain was caused by your injuries
  • How long it will take to recover
  • How the injuries have changed your life in term of relationships and the ability to work

After looking at the above, the lawyer can use the multiplier method to calculate pain and suffering. This means the lawyer will take your economic costs and multiply them with a number between one and five. It goes without saying that the more serious your injuries, the higher the multiplier will be. For example, if your medical bills are $20,000, using a multiplier of 4 pain and suffering damages would get $80,000. The total compensation you would get would be $100,000. This is just one of the ways pain and suffering can be calculated. Insurance companies can have their own internal ways of determining how much to offer for pain and suffering.

If you don’t settle with an insurer and go to court instead, a jury will determine pain and suffering compensation. During a trial, you and your lawyer have to work together to properly describe your situation. Your testimony and that of other witnesses like a family member should move the jury to award this damages.

How to Claim Pain and Suffering in Richmond, VA

In order to be compensated for your losses you must:

  • Ensure you file a claim in time.
    • Virginia has a statute of limitations on car accident claims. A statute of limitations is a state law which sets the time an accident victim has to file a lawsuit. In Richmond, VA you have two years to seek damages from a reckless driver. If you file a lawsuit after 2 years, your case will be dismissed.
  • Prove the driver at fault was negligent.
    • Virginia is a fault state. That means if you’re hurt or your car is damaged in a crash, the party at fault should pay damages. You, however, have to prove the other driver’s negligence. You can show they were texting while driving or driving while intoxicated and this caused your accident. If you are 50% or more to blame for the accident, you cannot claim compensation.
  • Show pain and suffering.
    • For an insurance company to even consider offering you pain and suffering damages, you must have injuries. If you only suffered property damage after a car accident, you cannot ask for pain and suffering. To prove pain and suffering, you can ask a medical expert to explain the impact of your injuries.

Contact a CAIL Accident Attorney in Richmond, VA

Knowing how much you can claim for pain and suffering can be complex. If you have questions about your entitlement to compensation for pain and suffering, contact a Richmond car accident attorney. The attorney will give you advice based on the facts of your case. If your claim is valid, they will help you obtain compensation from the insurance company. Give us a call for a free consultation of your case. Your injuries may limit your ability to pursue compensation. Let the CAIL law firm help you get you the maximum compensation you deserve.