What is pain and suffering? If you have been in an accident, you may already be familiar with the term. Pain and suffering is what we call the physical and emotional stress caused by an accident. Pain and suffering can include those everyday aches and pains that nobody is aware of. We sometimes refer to this as the “hassle” factor for having to deal with the aftermath of an accident. All of this amounts to a more general term, known as pain and suffering.

What is a pain and suffering settlement?

When properly determining the value of a case, pain and suffering is just one aspect the overall damage calculation. In addition to pain and suffering, a client’s medical bills and lost wages need to be considered. By evaluating the totality of the situation, an experienced lawyer is able place a value on the claim and educate the client on what a fair settlement might be. At Negretti & Associates, our team of experienced lawyers work to negotiate on behalf of our clients, to ensure that we reach the target value that we place on a case.

What are examples of pain and suffering?

In one pain and suffering case, we 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.

Another great example of pain and suffering often comes by way of an impairment rating. When a client is injured to the point of being permanently impaired, we at Negretti & Associates have our clients evaluated for an impairment rating. This rating typically comes in the form of a percentage. For example, someone may have a 6% impairment in his or her wrist. This impairment is really a form of pain and suffering. Through our knowledge of impairment ratings, we are able to capture compensation, through settlement, to reflect the pain and suffering that a client would experience due to an impairment.

How do you calculate pain and suffering?

Unfortunately, there is no magic formula to calculate pain and suffering. Online pain and suffering calculators are typically way off when it comes to helping you determine the amount of pain and suffering that you should be paid.

Online pain and suffering calculators often take a one-size-fits-all approach to valuing claims. They 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. 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.

Pain and suffering is specific to each individual claimant. As individuals, we have different daily activities and we experience pain differently. My pain and suffering would be different from your pain and suffering. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to calculating pain and suffering.

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.

Can you sue for pain and suffering?

Typically, one cannot “sue” for pain and suffering. Instead, one files a lawsuit for the negligence caused by another party and, in turn, damages resulting from that negligence are awarded.

Pain and suffering is a catch-all term used for classifying damages. In Arizona, California and Colorado, there are jury instructions that explain what specific types of damages you are entitled to. For example, in Arizona, one of your elements allows you to ask the jury for “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.”

Can you file a claim for 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.

What is 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.

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.

Can I collect on pain and suffering without a lawyer?

You can collect on 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. We only have great lawyers at Negretti and Associates.

How can an attorney help me decide whether my settlement is fair?

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 explain to you what your settlement range should be, based on your 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.