Within the field of personal injury law, pain and suffering is a general term that refers to classifying damages. It is the physical and emotional stress caused by an accident — the “hassle factor” for having to deal with the aftermath of an accident. It can include those everyday aches and pains, as well as emotional distress that others may not notice.
After an accident, a victim cannot “sue” for pain and suffering. However, one can file a lawsuit for the negligence caused by another party — and damages resulting from that negligence.
Factors Influencing How Pain and Suffering Damages Are Calculated
Unfortunately, there is no magic formula for calculating what one should be paid for pain and suffering damages. That’s because pain and suffering is specific to each individual claimant. As individuals, we have different daily activities and we experience pain differently.
Many pain and suffering calculators are available online, but their calculations can be way off the mark. This is because online pain and suffering calculators often take a one-size-fits-all approach to valuing claims. They commonly do not take into account the state or county in which accidents occur.
The location of an accident is an important factor when calculating pain and suffering damages. A state or county with a more conservative population could award less in damages than a state or county with a more liberal population. By diving deeper into where an accident occurred and gaining a better understanding of the jury pool in a state or county, we can produce more accurate case valuations.
Additionally, online calculators don’t have a way to enter data related to pain and suffering. If a client requires treatment for more than one year before they are well again, that factor is vital to determining his or her pain and suffering.
Online calculators simply don’t have a way to capture that information and provide an accurate assessment of case value. Online calculators often give false expectations and, as a result, tend to leave clients disappointed and confused.
How Much Is the Average Settlement for a Car Accident?
There is no such thing as an average settlement for a car accident. That is because no two car accidents are exactly same. In fact, at Negretti & Associates we sometimes represent multiple people involved in the same car accident, and each person’s injuries are different. In other words, each person’s settlement will vary depending on his or her injuries.
Rather than trying to figure out an average settlement, you really should be trying to determine whether your settlement is fair to you, based on your specific set of circumstances.
How Much Do Insurance Companies Pay for Pain and Suffering?
The amount insurance companies pay for pain and suffering depends greatly on the type of injury suffered and the specific facts of a case. For example, someone who has neck pain would be compensated differently from someone who breaks a leg. Additionally, someone who goes to urgent care and doesn’t follow up with any other treatment would be paid differently from someone who goes to the ER and then follows up with 8 weeks of physical therapy.
The Pain and Suffering Multiplier
Decades ago, it was customary for insurance companies to pay a so-called pain-and-suffering “multiplier” to accident claimants. Insurance companies would “multiply” medical bills to determine pain and suffering.
Insurance companies stopped valuing claims with a pain and suffering multiplier after realizing that they were losing too much money. Instead, they developed sophisticated software programs that analyze data and compute case values. Software completely removed the human element from the process and has dramatically changed the way cases are valued.
If someone has told you that you should “look into collecting on a pain and suffering multiplier” for your accident claim, you will be disappointed to learn that insurance companies no longer do this.
Currently, you will be compensated based on factors such as the severity of the injury, the length of treatment, and the pain and suffering experienced. This will not equate to a multiplier of your pain and suffering.
Can You File a Pain and Suffering Claim Without a Lawyer?
You can certainly file a claim to recover for pain and suffering without a lawyer. However, without a lawyer, you will most likely collect much, much less. This is not because a lawyer has a magic set of skills. It is because a good lawyer will take the time to work with you, to understand all of the damages suffered, and how to properly present those to the insurance company.
Additionally, a great lawyer will work on the back-end of the settlement, to reduce the money that the client may owe to third-parties — for example, medical providers — and to ensure the client nets the best possible result.
At Negretti & Associates, we pride ourselves on our honest approach to your case value. Through experience we have developed a case valuation tool that helps us arrive at a settlement range for each case, based on specific facts.
Please give us a call to discuss your settlement and we will do our best to give you valuable feedback, so that you can make an educated decision on whether or not to settle your claim.
Call us in Arizona at 602-531-3911, in California at 619-777-3370, and 720-636-3444 in Colorado. Or, you can click here to contact us with our online form. We’ll be happy to talk with you.