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pain and suffering settlements

If you’ve ever been in an accident, you already may be familiar with “pain and suffering” as a legal term. Pain and suffering is the physical and emotional stress caused by an accident. Attorneys sometimes refer to this as the “hassle” factor for having to deal with the aftermath of an accident. It can include everyday aches and pains, as well as emotional distress that few may be aware of.

Ultimately, pain and suffering is a catch-all term used for classifying general damages. In Arizona, California and Colorado, for example, there are jury instructions that explain what specific types of damages a claimant is entitled to. In Arizona, juries are asked to consider “the pain, discomfort, suffering, disability, disfigurement, and anxiety already experienced, and reasonably probable to be experienced in the future as a result of your injury.”

When determining the value of a case, pain and suffering is just one aspect the overall damage calculation. Beyond property damage, a client’s medical bills and lost wages — and other factors, such as physical impairment and emotional distress, as well as the physical location of the accident — also need to be considered.

By evaluating the totality of a situation, an experienced lawyer can place a value on a claim, and educate the client on what a fair settlement might be.

Average Pain and Suffering Settlements

Unfortunately, there are many myths surrounding pain and suffering settlements. Perhaps the greatest myth of all is that it’s possible to find an “average” pain and suffering settlement.

After all, numerous websites offer pain and suffering calculators. If you are an accident victim who is trying to determine what your case is worth, you may have already encountered a variety of articles offering guidance on settlement averages.

Regrettably, in reality, there is no such thing as an average pain and suffering settlement. This is especially the case for car accidents, 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. Each person’s pain and suffering damages settlement will vary depending on his or her injuries.
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Rather than trying to figure out an average settlement, accident victims really should be trying to determine whether their settlement seems fair, based on their individual circumstances.

Measuring Pain and Suffering

A measure of pain and suffering often comes by way of an impairment rating. At Negretti & Associates, when clients are injured to the point of being permanently impaired, we have them evaluated for an impairment rating. This rating typically comes in the form of a percentage.

For example, a client may have a 6 percent impairment in her wrist. This impairment is really a form of pain and suffering. Using our knowledge of impairment ratings, we are able to capture compensation that reflects the pain and suffering that the client would experience due to the impairment.

Pain and Suffering Due to Emotional Distress

Emotional distress is a recognized claim that can be made within the aspect of pain and suffering. Emotional distress is almost always felt and rarely seen. Sometimes the outward manifestation of an emotional reaction can be detected, but most of the time people suffer in silence.

One of the biggest emotional distresses that we see from our clients is anxiety after an auto accident. Our clients often tell us that they get really anxious driving after an auto accident and feel an overwhelmed and fearful that everyone is going to hit them. In some cases, this emotional distress becomes so debilitating that clients have to seek treatment from a medical professional for possible diagnoses, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Emotional distress is an important part of your pain and suffering claim. At Negretti and Associates we usually ask each client to write a victim impact statement, so that we can help the insurance company better understand the emotional distress that our client suffered.

In one pain and suffering case, Negretti & Associates represented a young girl who was traumatized from being locked inside of a store and not allowed to leave. We were able to work with our client to understand the root of her trauma. Through the medical professionals who treated her, we were able to better grasp the night terrors that she suffered from. Armed with this information, we negotiated a settlement that included the pain and suffering that this young girl experienced — and was expected to continue to experience.

Get the Help You Need

At Negretti & Associates, our team of experienced lawyers works to negotiate on behalf of our clients, to ensure that we reach the target value that we place on a case.

If you have a pain and suffering settlement question, call us at 602-531-3911 in Arizona, 619-777-3370 in California, or 720-636-3444 in Colorado. Or, you can contact us with our online form. We’ll be happy to talk with you.

how pain and suffering damages are calculated

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.