There is no simple formula or equation to calculate your pain and suffering damages. Your damages generally fall into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are damages like wage loss, unpaid medical bills and out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident. These are concrete numbers that can be specifically calculated from pay stubs, billing statements, etc.
Non-economic damages, which are generally the larger portion of damages in a personal injury case, are not as easy to calculate as economic damages. Non-economic damages are based on your injuries, treatment, and pain and suffering resulting from the accident. Pain and suffering encompasses a large number of elements, as discussed below.
What Is Pain and Suffering?
“Pain and suffering” is a category of damages common to personal injury cases. The category can account for many types of harm, including:
- Physical pain caused by injuries
- Painful memories and dreams
- Depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other accident-related conditions
- Diminished quality of life
- Lost sleep
- Other forms of trauma and negative life outcomes
Pain and suffering is unique to each victim. Unlike damages such as medical bills, there is a measure of subjectivity in pain and suffering. Two victims may experience vastly different levels of pain and suffering, even if their accidents and injuries are similar.
Is it Difficult to Calculate the Value of Pain and Suffering?
It can be. Only the car accident victim truly understands the extent of their pain and suffering. Therefore, an attorney must work hard simply to understand their client’s situation. Once they understand, the attorney must determine the cost of pain and suffering. This requires time, effort, and careful consideration.
Fortunately, personal injury firms are accustomed to calculating this damage. Your attorney may use multiple approaches to calculate pain and suffering. You can ask your lawyer how they calculate pain and suffering after a car accident.
Will Insurance Companies Calculate Pain and Suffering?
An insurance company may also calculate pain and suffering when a specific policy or circumstance allows for a pain and suffering payout. The insurance company may have established methods for calculating pain and suffering. In most cases, the insurer will consider several factors, including:
- The nature of your injuries
- The permanence of injury symptoms
- The severity of the accident
- The economic effects of your accident
- The input of their experts
Insurance companies have an economic model to follow that depends on minimizing payouts. Therefore, the insurance company’s calculation of pain and suffering may be less than your attorney’s. This is where negotiations become important.
For a free legal consultation, call 412-661-1400
How Can You Prove Your Pain and Suffering?
Though it doesn’t have a clear monetary cost, pain and suffering may be provable – at least to some extent.
You may prove elements of pain and suffering by:
Receiving Formal Diagnoses
Medical professionals can diagnose conditions like depression, as Mayo Clinic explains. A mental health professional may testify to a decline in your quality of life. A doctor may explain how much physical pain your injuries cause. Licensed professionals can both diagnose your pain and suffering and attest to your symptoms.
Obtaining Testimony of Friends, Family, and Colleagues
Your pain and suffering may be apparent. Your family may see how injuries have confined you physically. Colleagues may see how your professional life has suffered. Friends may testify to your lack of sociality after an accident. These accounts can be helpful when proving pain and suffering.
Proving Your Other Losses
Some pain and suffering calculations are based on the cost of other losses. By proving those other losses, you may form the foundation of a pain and suffering payment. Those other losses may include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Vehicle repairs
- Lost earning power
- Rehabilitation costs
- Medication costs
Your car accident attorney will create a full record of your losses. They may use that record to value your pain and suffering.
Should I Have a Lawyer Calculate My Pain and Suffering?
Hiring a lawyer may be the right choice for you. Unless you have experience calculating pain and suffering, there may be a high risk of error. Would you even know where to start?
A lawyer will:
- Identify all losses that qualify as pain and suffering
- Use the most appropriate calculation method for pain and suffering
- Double-check that the calculation is accurate
- Use the calculation of pain and suffering during negotiations
An attorney may hire experts to help with their calculations. Without a lawyer, you’d have to calculate these damages yourself. The cost of hiring an expert to help you would likely come from your own pocket. With our firm, you pay no upfront or out-of-pocket costs.
Call Berger and Green Today About Your Car Accident
We’ve seen countless car accident victims throughout Pennsylvania. More often than not, those victims experience pain and suffering. When they do, we seek appropriate compensation for them. We’ll do the same for you.
Call Berger and Green today at (412) 661-1400. We’ll complete your free consultation and answer any questions you have. Don’t wait to call, as we may have a limited time to file your car accident case.