After a car accident, you face steep costs. Not only do you face growing medical bills, but you also lose wages due to the time you must take off work to recover. Unfortunately, these easily calculable costs aren’t the only losses you may suffer after an accident. The pain and suffering you face after a car accident often seriously diminishes your quality of life, making once enjoyable activities impossible. It’s only fair, therefore, that the driver at fault for a car accident is also responsible for paying crash victims pain and suffering in a car accident claim.
But exactly how much do you get for pain and suffering in a car accident? After all, it’s difficult to assess a simple cost for the physical pain, mental suffering, and emotional distress you suffer after a serious car crash. In California, there are no set legal limits or guidelines on how much you can claim for pain and suffering in car accidents. If a personal injury claim related to a car accident goes to court, the jury decides based on the circumstances of the case, such as how seriously you were injured, how much your car was damaged, and whether or not you shared any fault for the accident.
Still there are three common methods that most insurance companies and personal injury lawyers commonly use to determine a fair payment for pain and suffering in car crashes.
- A multiple of the special damages:Special damages are those easily calculable expenses you incur after a car accident. Insurance companies often multiply this number by a set amount to come to a fair payment for pain and suffering in car accident claims. Traditionally, this set multiplier was always 3, but this has changed in recent years. Now a computer calculates a multiplier on a sliding scale based on how serious the crash was. Typically, a fender bender or minor crash would only use a multiplier of 1.5 or 2, while a serious crash could be as much as 4 or 5.
- A daily rate for the duration of your recovery period:Another common way to calculate pain and suffering is to decide upon a daily pain and suffering “cost” and then award it for each day of your recovery. The duration of the suffering period often is intended to be some objective assessment. For example, a person with a broken leg may get paid for each day until they complete physical therapy and can walk again. The daily rate, however, can be difficult to establish. Many people use the amount of money they would earn in a day (the reasoning being that the pain and suffering is equivalent to a day’s work). This is then adjusted up or down depending on the severity of your injuries. The key to making this kind of pain and suffering claim for a car accident is sufficiently justifying how you came to the daily rate.
- An average of the two other methods: Most commonly, personal injury lawyers use a combination of the two methods to find a fair number. After calculating the pain and suffering damages that you are entitled under each method, the two numbers are typically averaged. This finds a fair number between the two extremes.
No matter which method you use to calculate pain and suffering in a car accident, deciding how much you should get can be complicated. That’s why it helps to have the assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer to do the math on your behalf. Your accident lawyer will know how to justify what you are asking and ensure you get the settlement you deserve in order to recover in peace. If you’ve been in an accident, the last thing you want to do is spend your time fighting with the insurance company. Let the California accident attorneys at Wakeford Law do it for you.