The Difficulty of Assigning a Dollar Amount to Pain And Suffering


Most car accident cases, even minor collisions, include a pain and suffering amount.

Here’s how it works.

In nearly every auto accident claim or lawsuit, the accident case involves compensation for special expenses and general expenses.

Pain and suffering falls under general expenses.

pain and suffering after car accident | payment amount for pain and suffering

General expenses can be challenging to quantify because trauma is subjective.

How can anyone put a dollar amount to loss of companionship, emotional suffering, or physical pain?

Pain and suffering can stem from the accident itself or the resulting injuries.

Examples include:

  1. Psychological effects
  2. Discomfort
  3. Anxiety
  4. Stress
  5. Physical Pain
  6. Emotional trauma
  7. Loss of companionship
  8. Suffering
  9. Loss of enjoyment of life
  10. Mental distress

In the end, general damages depend in large part on the victim’s ability to communicate their losses effectively in front of a jury.

In addition to general expenses, special damages are also sought after in car accident cases.

Special damages are out-of-pocket expenses that were caused by the accident. These damages are often much more straightforward to calculate than general damages.

Special damages are based on physical evidence such as medical bills, car repairs, other financial documents.

Examples Include:

  • Cost of vehicle repairs or other property damage
  • Past and future medical expenses including surgeries, physical therapy, and more.
  • Value of lost wages

To determine the pain and suffering value of your case, both special and general damages must be considered.

Want to get started on your pain and suffering claim today? Click below to schedule your free case evaluation with a Car Accident Attorney in Atlanta.

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Average Payment for Pain and Suffering in Car Accident Cases

There is no such thing as a “typical” car accident case. Every car, driver, and circumstance is different, making every collision unique.

However, there is a commonly used formula to calculate the dollar number for pain and suffering in a car accident case.

In general, lawyers multiply special expenses, or out of pocket expenses, 3-5 times to determine a dollar number for pain and suffering.

Let’s illustrate with an example.

  1. A car accident victim (plaintiff) incurs $1,000 in out-of-pocket expenses related to medical costs, loss of work, and car repairs.
  2. When valuing the pain and suffering amount, the plaintiff’s lawyer will multiply this amount by 3-5 depending on the severity of the accident, injuries, and trauma.
  3. If this accident was relatively minor, the lawyer may wish to ask for $3,000 total - one-thousand dollars for out-of-pocket expenses and two-thousand dollars for pain and suffering.

Keep reading to learn more about calculating the pain and suffering dollar amount for your case.

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How to Determine Your Pain and Suffering Amount

The multiplying method illustrated above is a simple, conventional method for determining pain and suffering amounts.

However, there are other methods that lawyers use to put a dollar amount to pain and suffering.

In addition to the multiplier method, where the amount of out-of-pocket expenses is multiplied 3-5 times based on the severity of the case, lawyers and adjusters may also use a daily rate calculator.

The daily rate method calculates the per-diem or per day cost of your accident. This method assigns a dollar value to each day you’ve had to live with the pain caused by your accident.

This calculation method is based on the idea that the pain and inconvenience of your injuries is comparable to the effort of going to work each day.

To determine a believable daily rate, base your number on daily earnings.

Here’s an example to help explain the daily rate method:

  1. A woman is involved in an auto accident and suffers a broken arm, whiplash, and back pain.
  2. She is forced to wear an arm cast and can’t work on the computer at her office.
  3. She has to visit the chiropractor multiple times each week for back and neck adjustments and begins a physical therapy regimen.
  4. If the woman suffers from the pain and inconvenience of her injuries for six months (approximately 125 working days), the daily rate method would entitle her to request compensation for half of her salary.
  5. If the woman makes $50,000 each year, she will demand $25,000 for pain and suffering based on her daily rate calculations.

Get a Fair Settlement Amount for Pain and Suffering

Working with a professional, experienced personal injury attorney will help to ensure you get the largest settlement possible for your pain and suffering compensation.

The attorneys at The Roth Firm in Atlanta have decades of experience with demand letters, insurance company negotiations, and car accident lawsuits.

Give yourself your best chance at recovering the pain and suffering dollar amount your injuries deserve by contacting The Roth Firm today.

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