If you were injured due to the careless or intentional acts of someone else, there is a good chance that you will be coping with more than just the financial pain. Some injuries are greater than financial damage and are just as valid. It’s important to understand what your less-visible injuries are worth. You may be wondering what your claim is worth and how to prove pain and suffering. Understanding how the accident has impacted your life and overall well-being is an important first step. Here are some of the things to consider when seeking damages for pain and suffering after a car accident.
What Is Pain and Suffering?
The term “pain and suffering” refers to the physical and emotional pain caused by the injury that you would not have had to endure had the negligent action, and thus the car accident, not happened. There is often a lot of emphasis placed on the tangible expenses associated with car accident injuries, which can certainly be costly, but there can also be significant implications for your quality of life and these are compensable in the form of damages for pain and suffering.
How to Prove Pain and Suffering
Unlike medical expenses and lost wages, pain and suffering do not come with a receipt or an invoice. Proving pain and suffering damages requires supportive evidence about the severity of your injuries, recovery prognosis, and how your life has been impacted by the accident. Evidence may be used to prove pain and suffering as well as other noneconomic damages such as post-traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, loss of enjoyment of life, and more. Some examples of this evidence include the following:
- Testimony from medical doctors regarding your injuries and prognosis,
- Records of current and recommended medical treatment,
- Photos from the car accident to demonstrate severity and trauma,
- Testimony from your therapist or counselor,
- A list of the long-term medications you will need to take,
- Employer testimony regarding your ability or lack of ability to now do your job,
- Visual proof of your previous lifestyle which could include videos or photos of the things you used to do but can no longer participate in,
- Testimony from friends and family about your previous lifestyle and the impact of your new limitations, and
- Expert analysis regarding your current and future earning capacity.
Gathering this evidence is an important part of the car accident injury settlement process whether your case ends up going to trial. Your attorney can work with you to understand the facts of your case and what you are going through to determine how to prove pain and suffering for your specific circumstances.
How Is Pain and Suffering Calculated?
Several factors must be evaluated to determine the amount of pain and suffering damages you are entitled to if you have been hurt in a car accident, including the severity of your injuries and the impact they have on your life and overall well-being. Each case is unique, so there is no set standard for how much compensation you can receive. However, most pain and suffering damages are calculated using one of two methods outlined below. Regardless of which method is used, your attorney will be an important part of ensuring you receive the compensation you are entitled.
Pain and Suffering Multiplier Method
This method is the most common for calculating pain and suffering damages, though it does require some subjective analysis. These are the instructions for using this calculation:
- Add up the total amount of your medical bills;
- Determine a number between 1.5 and 5, based on the severity of your injuries, with 1.5 being the least severe and 5 being the most; and
- Multiply your medical bills by this number.
Complications may arise when the multiplier chosen is in dispute. The degree of negligence involved in the accident may also be a factor that is taken into consideration.
Pain and Suffering Per Diem Method
The per diem method of calculating pain and suffering damages uses a specific monetary value and assigns that value to each day you are considered “injured.” A medical expert will need to determine a date that they expect maximum medical improvement (MMI). Ideally, on that day, the condition will have improved to be as good as it is going to get and will not continue to get better. The per diem amount must be agreed upon by all parties, which can be difficult.
The attorneys at Mehta & McConnell Law have over 30 years of combined legal experience. We are knowledgeable about the intricacies of North Carolina personal injury law and can help you get the relief you deserve. We understand that no two cases are exactly alike and the best strategy for how to prove pain and suffering also differs for each unique set of circumstances. Our team can assist you in determining fair compensation and negotiate a settlement that makes sense, with the option to litigate if necessary. Contact us today for your free consultation.