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How Does Pain and Suffering Factor into a Claim?

If you have been injured as a result of an accident, you have most likely suffered damages. Damages include medical expenses, lost wages resulting from the time you had to miss work, and property damages. What you may not know is that you might be entitled to damages for pain and suffering.

If you need help receiving payment for your incurred losses, you can choose to file a personal injury claim, which enables you to recover some or all of your losses from the liable party's insurance company. A personal injury claim can help you overcome your financial losses that resulted from the accident.

What is Pain and Suffering?

Pain and suffering is how you can address the emotional distress and physical pain suffered by a victim of a personal injury accident. Emotional distress, which can be called mental anguish, can involve depression, irritability, fear, grief, insomnia, anxiety, and more. If you pursue pain and suffering damages, those are classified as general damages.

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When considering the physical pain, it is based on the actual severity of the injury. As an example, a broken bone would be entitled to more compensation for pain and suffering than a soft tissue injury such as a sprain or whiplash. The kind of medical treatment you seek for the injury will also be taken into consideration. If you suffer whiplash after an auto accident, you might choose physical therapy or a chiropractor to help relieve the symptoms.

How Pain and Suffering is Determined

While there is no specific guideline in place for calculating pain and suffering damages, many attorneys use specific calculation methods to come up with a figure. One method uses the actual medical bills and lost wages suffered by the victim and then it is multiplied by a specific number ranging from 1 to 5 depending upon the severity of the injuries. For example, a $1,500 hospital visit multiplied by three (for moderate pain) would equal $4,500 for a potential pain and suffering settlement.

Another approach is the "per day" figure. Using this approach, a specific amount is assigned to every day from the day of the accident until the maximum recovery amount is reached. While these are two commonly used approaches, insurance companies are not obligated to consider these methods or agree to them. Insurance adjusters often use computer programs to determine if a settlement amount should be offered for pain and suffering resulting from the accident. These programs consider the kind of injury as well as the kinds of medical treatment that the victim used.

Consult with a Personal Injury Attorney

To ensure your rights are protected and that you get the settlement you deserve from your personal injury claim, you should consult with a personal injury attorney. A personal injury attorney will know how to properly calculate your losses and will work to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company. With the help of a personal injury attorney, you are much more likely to get a fair settlement. Personal injury attorneys aren't paid until your claim has been won, so you have no out-of-pocket expenses.