You probably already know that if you were in an accident and the other driver was at fault, their insurance company is liable for paying for your injuries. But, did you also know that your settlement offer could also compensate you for pain and suffering?
This article will shed some light on this sometimes-vague term. You’ll also learn four ways to prove pain and suffering to the insurance company to maximize the value of your personal injury settlement check.
What is Pain and Suffering?
The term pain and suffering refers to the physical pain and mental distress that you experience after an accident.
For example, if you sustain a serious back injury in an accident, you could be compensated for the daily pain you feel as well as how it affects your mood and quality of life. The more drastic the injury’s effect on your lifestyle, the more compensation you can potentially get in a negotiation with the insurance company or in a lawsuit.
Calculating Pain and Suffering
The compensation you may receive for medical bills and lost wages is straightforward to calculate, but that’s not the case for pain and suffering. An insurance company can add up all the expenses associated with your treatments and calculate your lost wages based on your paystubs, but how do you prove how much your pain and suffering is worth?
There’s no uniform standard for determining this figure, but insurance companies tend to use one of two methods:
1. The Multiplier Method: When an insurance company uses the multiplier method, they will simply multiply your economic damages (medical bills, lost wages, etc.) by a number to come up with pain and suffering.
The multiplier will vary, and it will usually depend on how severe your injuries are, how long it will take to heal, and whether you’ll recover 100%.
2. The Per Diem Method: A Latin phrase for “each day,” the per diem method assigns a dollar value to each day that you will experience pain and suffering.
For example, suppose you have a back injury that will prevent you from working for one year and it prevents you from holding your child. In that case, you could receive a lump sum settlement that multiplies a per diem figure by the number of days that your injury will adversely affect your life.
4 Ways to Prove Pain and Suffering
Because pain and suffering cannot be determined objectively, it is crucial for your claim that you submit evidence that supports an amount of money that fairly compensates you for your injuries.
There are four types of evidence that can support your claim:
1. Medical records: Your medical records can house a goldmine of information. They can demonstrate both the severity of your injury and how it impacts your routine. A doctor’s note that prohibits you from lifting anything over a few pounds can make it impossible for you to enjoy activities you love. You may not even be able to hold your child.
2. Photographs: An insurance company may try to minimize your injuries, especially if the medical records do not sufficiently reflect everything you’re experiencing. Photographic evidence can show the severity of an injury as well as lifestyle accommodations that you’ve been forced to adopt.
3. Personnel files: Reports from your employer can demonstrate that you’re unable to fulfill your duties. This information can support your claim that you are experiencing high levels of pain.
4. Witness statements: Friends, family members, and neighbors can provide statements about your pain and diminished quality of life. If you are relying on others in your life to provide you with basic needs like meals, transportation, or childcare, this information can serve as evidence in determining compensation for pain and suffering.
Contact an Oklahoma Personal Injury Attorney for a Free Consultation
At the Law Offices of Bryan Garrett PLLC, we negotiate with insurance companies to seek maximum compensation for your car accident claim, including generous settlements for pain and suffering.
We have over 15 years of experience navigating car accident claims. Put our experience to work for your case, and contact us for a free consultation.