How Do Houston Lawyers Calculate Pain and Suffering?
By default, most traffic accidents involve some sort of physical damage that can be quantified in one way or another. For example, if your vehicle was damaged in a crash, you can get a few repair estimates from reliable repair shops and use those to quantify your losses. If you’ve missed time from work, you can prorate the days or weeks missed by your average earnings to arrive at a figure for lost earnings as a result of the accident.
However, many accidents involve pain and suffering. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that traffic accidents cost the US economy roughly $240 billion in 2010. Out of this total, treatment for pain and suffering, as well as lost productivity as a result of pain and suffering, made up a significant portion of 20% of the total, or part of $50 billion overall.
These damages are somewhat more difficult to quantify, but they can still be claimed in addition to other costs that arise from your accident. What is important to understand, however, is what constitutes pain and suffering, when do insurance companies cover for such damages, and how a pain and suffering claim is quantified in dollar terms.
What Are Pain and Suffering Damages?
In general, pain and suffering damages are simply the emotional stress, distress, and anxiety you experience as a result of injuries sustained in an accident. These include:
- Physical pain from your bodily injuries, as well as the cost of surgery, medicine, rehabilitative care, and doctor’s visits.
- Emotional suffering and anguish that arise from your injuries, including a fall in your quality of life if you are unable to enjoy activities or pastimes you used to participate in before, such as jogging, fishing, etc.
Insurance Claims for Damages Related to Pain and Suffering
Before an insurance company will even consider pain and suffering demands, a few points need to be established:
- You need to establish that you have indeed suffered physical and/or mental pain and suffering.
- The connection between your pain and suffering must be connected to the accident you were involved in.
- You should be able to prove that the accident you were involved in was the result of someone else’s negligence.
Calculating the Value of Pain and Suffering Claims
Placing an exact dollar amount on the pain and suffering that someone experiences after an accident can be difficult. However, there are scientific ways to go about estimating the value of such claims. Two of the more common methods used to calculate these damages are the per diem method and the multiplier method.
- Per Diem: In the per diem method, a dollar figure is estimated and that is used as a compensation figure for each day that the injured party takes to recover.
- Multiplier: In the multiplier method, the actual damages of the accident are multiplied by a number that increases with the severity of the accident. The more severe the accident and its resultant injuries, the higher the multiplier will be.
Factors That Affect Your Case
The eventual payout you will receive will depend on more than a straightforward multiplier or a single number used in the per diem approach. Other factors that are used to arrive at the value of a pain and suffering claim include:
- The long term prognosis of your injuries – Severe injuries carry heavier awards than short-term or superficial injuries. For example, spinal cord injuries will likely involve higher payouts than basic fractures or bumps and bruises.
- The type of work you used to do, the types of activities you used to do before the accident, and your physical and emotional health after the accident.
- The costs associated with the types of treatment you need.
- Contributory negligence – This can come into play if the defendant or the insurance company questions your role in causing the accident.
Evidence Needed to Prove Pain and Suffering
To prove pain and suffering and to ascertain whether or not you have truly sustained other non-economic damages such as emotional trauma, anxiety, or distress, you may have to prove that you suffer from or experience the following as a direct result of the accident:
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Panic attacks
To prove these, we will help you put together a case that:
- Creates a connection between your pain, suffering, emotional trauma, and distress, and the accident itself.
- Describes the pain and suffering you experience by explaining the treatment, surgeries, difficulty performing everyday tasks, and other challenges to living a normal life that you face on a daily basis as a result of the accident.
- Provides expert testimony from your doctor, including their explanation of your injuries, the time it will take you to recover, and the types and levels of pain that other patients in similar circumstances generally face.
We Are Your Local Legal Experts
The aftermath of an accident can be a painful time of slow recovery, piling medical costs, a feeling of helplessness, and strains on personal and family relationships. There is no need to endure all of these alone. We are here to help and we understand the heavy burden of both physical pain and suffering as well as emotional pain and trauma. Call us today at 713-677-2253 to learn more about pain and suffering, how to estimate your losses therefrom, and how to get back to living a full life once more. Call now.
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