One of the most elusive factors in any personal injury case is the appropriate figure to attach to the victim’s pain and suffering.
It can literally make the difference between a case being worth only a couple thousand dollars and a case being worth $20,000, $30,000 or more.
What is “pain and suffering”?
These are intangible losses that you suffered due to your injuries.
It is all of the discomforts you felt from the moment of the accident through the present. It may even extend into the future if your doctors have determined that you have a permanent injury that won’t ever fully heal.
How is it calculated?
Many insurers (and attorneys) use a multiplier method. They first tally all of your actual financial losses — including those medical bills that were covered by insurance (since they will likely have to be repaid). Your lost wages — or the sick leave you used up — also goes into that tally. So do things like the dollar amount of damage done to your car (if you were in a car accident).
Then, more issues are weighed in:
- How sympathetic are you as a victim?
- How clearly was the accident the other driver’s fault?
- Did you require invasive surgery because of your injuries?
- How long did it take you to recover?
- Will you ever really recover?
All of these are factors because the insurance company really doesn’t want to take a case to court when they have a clearly negligent client and a clearly injured victim that’s likable.
Once all of these things are considered, your actual losses are multiplied by a number that usually ranges between 1.5 and 5 (it rarely goes higher unless you have catastrophic injuries). That will give you the pain and suffering part of your claim. It’s easy to see how that can make a big difference — a $10,000 claim multiplied by 1.5 is worth just an additional $15,000. Multiplied by 5, it’s worth an additional $50,000.
You can bet that the insurer would like to keep that multiplier as low as possible — which is why it helps to have an advocate on your side with experience. Our personal injury attorneys may be able to help you get the compensation you really deserve.