Personal Injury Pain and Suffering Calculator
If you’ve been injured because of someone else’s negligence, you are entitled by law to certain money damages. These usually include payment for your medical bills, lost wages, and something called “Pain and Suffering“. Calculations for Medical bills and lost wages are usually very easy – if you have a $5,000 medical bill, the at fault party owes you $5,000 to pay for that bill. But money damages for physical pain and mental suffering is much more difficult and subjective to calculate.
Here are some of the factors that help determine the value of physical pain and mental suffering. Keep in mind that a jury usually makes this valuation, and settlements are usually based on how a jury might value the case.
The Extent of your Injuries:
The more serious your injuries, the more value is placed on your pain and suffering. You can imagine that a jury will allow for more money damages for a person who has suffered a broken leg than someone who has suffered a back strain. However, it’s not always clear how serious some injuries really are; a concussion can sometimes go away very quickly and not cause much pain – or a concussion can be a Traumatic Brain Injury with symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, depression, blurred vision, and suicidal thoughts that never go away for the rest of the person’s life. Also, injuries that are easy for a jury to understand and visualize usually allow for more pain and suffering. For example, a broken leg can be viewed on an X-Ray, whereas a concussion would not show up on any imaging at all, and is diagnosed based on a set of symptoms.
The Severity of the Injuries:
The more severe the cause of your injuries, the more physical pain and mental suffering a jury will likely allow for. Juries tend to assume that you cannot be too badly injured from a minor fender bender (despite a lot of medical evidence to the contrary). Juries also assume that more serious accidents can cause more serious injuries, such as a roll over car crash or falling through a roof from 30 feet in the air. Evidence that shows the seriousness of the accident to a jury will greatly increase the value of the pain and suffering claim, such as photographs or video of the incident.
The Amount of your Medical Bills:
Many online “pain and suffering calculators” oversimplify the calculation and simply say to multiply your medical bills times 3 and you have an amount to settle your case for. This is simply false, and misleading. If you follow this method, you will either way overvalue your case, or you will be leaving money on the table when you settle. Here’s why: I’ve seen many very serious injuries with little to no medical bills. If someone suffers a permanent traumatic brain injury In a car crash, their only medical bills would be for some diagnostic tests and follow up care with a neurologist – no surgery or inpatient care would be required, and their bills could be less than $10,000. You should never settle a permanent traumatic brain injury for $30,000 if you don’t have to. The pain and suffering would be much higher. Similarly, some people go to the emergency room after an accident and get multiple CT scans and MRI’s only to confirm that they are uninjured. Their medical bills could be over $25,000 but not have any injury at all. The mount of your medical bills influences the value of your pain and suffering claim, but is not the only factor.
The Behavior of the Defendant:
How egregious the Defendant’s behavior is influences the pain and suffering value of your case. Where a defendant is a sweet old man who crashed into your car and then apologized and offered to pay for all of your medical bills immediately does not enhance the value of your pain and suffering claim. However, if the Defendant was a drunk driver who already had a suspended license for drinking and driving and fled the scene of the crash, your pain and suffering claim would be greatly enhanced. Juries are likely to hold Defendants more responsible when the Defendants’ actions are egregious.
Your personal injury lawyer:
If you have a lawyer, insurance companies are likely to pay more on your case because they know your lawyer will file a lawsuit and go to court if necessary. Does your lawyer have a history of filing lawsuits and taking cases to trial? If so, insurance companies will take you more seriously and pay more for your claim to avoid a trial. Does your lawyer advertise heavily on TV and settle every case before ever filing a lawsuit? If so, insurance companies will know that your lawyer will force you to settle for less than they should, and will offer your case less money.
There is no single simple formula to calculate your pain and suffering in a personal injury case. However, the seriousness of your injuries, the severity of the accident, the amount of your medical bills and the behavior of the Defendant all play large roles. Importantly, hiring a lawyer who will file a lawsuit and go to court if necessary will have a major impact on the value of your case.
If you’ve been involved in an accident, and need to speak to a lawyer to help determine if you have a case and what it might be worth, or if you need help getting the medical treatment you need, Asheville Personal Injury Lawyer Lakota Denton is here to assist you. Our no pressure consultations are always free. Call or email our office today.
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