What Does Pain and Suffering Mean in Car Accident Claims?

The aftermath of a car accident can alter your life in nearly all aspects. Some of these effects are felt immediately, while others develop gradually and sometimes take over your life and those of your loved ones completely.

Things such as physical aches, financial difficulties, car problems, court processes, and so on can cause untold pain, mental, and emotional suffering. It’s even worse if you are certain another driver’s negligence caused the accident.

As your car accident lawyer in Columbia helps you pursue compensation for economic losses, they’ll also factor in non-economic losses like the physical pain you’ve suffered, as well as emotional distress as a result of the accident.

How do you prove you experienced pain and suffering after a crash and how much compensation can you receive for the same?

What Does Pain and Suffering Entail?

The effects of a car accident are varied. Some, such as physical injuries and property damages are quite visible and quantifiable, while others are not. The latter is what forms pain and suffering in car accident claims; they do not have a dollar value and cannot be determined just by a recipe or visual inspection.

They fall under the non-economic category of damages in personal injury claims.

Some of the factors that will form your non-economic damages in a car accident claim include:

  • Aches from physical injuries
  • Anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues
  • Decreased quality and quantity of life
  • Being permanently or temporarily limited from various life activities
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after the accident
  • Reputation injury
  • Disfigurement
  • Inconvenience
  • And so on.

How to Prove Pain and Suffering After a Car Accident

For a successful claim against the negligent party, the claimant will need to demonstrate a preponderance of evidence in support of their claim.

Your lawyer will gather evidence to build up your case from places like:

  • Pictures of your injuries
  • Medical bills
  • Your mental health expert’s assessment report
  • Prescription records after the accident
  • Your account, as well as those of your loved ones, on how the accident has changed your lives.

Besides gathering such evidence, your attorney can also liaise with an expert witness to interpret your reports and explain the magnitude of your suffering to a court or insurance adjuster.

Eligibility to Sue for Pain and Suffering

In some states, the right to seek compensation for pain and suffering depends on whether any of the following occurred after the accident:

  • Permanent scarring or disfigurement
  • Permanent disability
  • Death
  • Permanent or significant loss of a body function.

As with many laws, the above guidelines vary from one state to the other, so it’ll be better to hire an attorney who understands the laws in your state or where the accident happened.

How Will I Calculate the Value of My Pain and Suffering?

Since physical pain and emotional distress are not quantifiable, lawmakers have come up with several ways to calculate the total value of a plaintiff’s suffering after a car accident.

Other factors, such as the victim’s age, duration needed to recover, the extent of medical needs, severity of the injuries, and the impact on the victim’s individual and social life, will also come into play when calculating this final amount.

There are two primary methods the insurance company might use to determine how much to pay for your pain and suffering.

The Per Diem Method

Here, the insurance adjuster determines a daily figure, which is then multiplied by the number of days from when the accident occurred until the plaintiff attains full recovery.

Multiplier Method

This is a simpler approach where the insurer multiplies the total value of your economic damages by a number between one and five. Normally, the multiplier number depends on the severity of injuries and the overall impact of the accident on your life.