Car accidents can be fatal and costly. After an accident, you might need surgery, scans, physical therapy, or regular check-ups. Some injuries may take longer to heal, leading to months of pain and discomfort. They can leave you scarred emotionally and physically. In light of all this, you will need to know how your insurance company calculates pain and suffering in a car accident.
What is Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering refer to emotional trauma, physical pain, and other injuries caused by an accident. You may have suffered burns from the accident, leaving you with permanent scarring or disfigurement. You may have suffered a neck and back injury that no longer lets you enjoy activities you once did. In other cases, the trauma from the crash may cause panic attacks, insomnia and emotional turmoil.
The aftermath can cause physical and psychological damage that may be hard to quantify. Therefore, calculating pain and suffering is vital to your compensation in a personal injury lawsuit or an insurance claim.
How Insurance Companies Calculate Pain and Suffering
It is more challenging valuing pain and suffering than repair bills or medical expenses. This is because it’s less tangible and thus harder to prove. Therefore, it is essential to seek legal representation from a car accident attorney.
An experienced attorney will ensure your pain and suffering settlement gets the best possible compensation. To speak to an experienced accident attorney, click here.
Insurance companies either use the per diem or multiplier methods to calculate pain and suffering settlements.
The multiplier method considers your economic losses, then multiplies them by a number between 1.5 and five, depending on how severe your injuries are. For instance, if your injuries are less severe, the insurance company might multiply your economic damages by two. If the injuries are more severe, they could multiply the damages by five. The multiplier indicates the level of pain and suffering.
Someone with $15,000 in economic damages and a multiplier of two gets $30,000 in pain and suffering damages in a lower case. If a client suffers spinal injury or permanent paralysis, their economic damages could accrue $1 million. Multiplied by five, their pain and suffering damages total $5 million.
Per Diem Method
Insurance companies use the per diem method to calculate pain and suffering damages less often. Your legal representatives can help you determine the number of days you experienced pain and suffering between your injury and recovery period.
The Per Diem method assigns a dollar amount for each day (a day’s pay from work), then multiplies it by the number of days you were distressed.
Seek Medical Attention After an Accident
After an accident, some symptoms like neck or back sprains, concussions, or whiplash may take longer to surface. Failure to seek medical attention could mean that the insurance company will most likely not place much value on your injuries.
If you did not see a doctor immediately after the accident, it’s advisable to schedule an appointment to evaluate delayed symptoms and document your injuries. This documentation may prove helpful in a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Evidence the Insurance Company Will Review
The insurance company must access your medical records to verify your injury claim. Taking time off from work to consult a doctor to treat your injuries will help make your claim valid. This also applies if you lost wages because of the time taken from your job to recover from injuries.
The insurance company reviews records related to your claim to determine an amount equivalent to your pain and suffering. Some of these records include:
- Cost of medical prescription
- Medical bills
- Medical records
- Photographs of your injuries
- Employer’s documentation of time taken off work
- Receipts for medical devices like neck braces, wheelchairs, or crutches
- Receipts for over-the-counter medication
Therefore, you should securely store all your records, documentation, and receipts after an accident for easy access.