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Personal Injury

How to Determine Pain and Suffering in a Car Accident Case

By July 22, 2019March 20th, 2020One Comment

If you’ve been injured in a car accident through no fault of your own, you’re probably wondering what your case is worth. Insurance companies use a variety of methods to calculate the value of personal injury claim, which often includes compensation for such things as medical care, lost wages, and property damage.

But there is also the issue of pain and suffering, which is considered a non-economic damage. Pain and suffering is generally defined as the mental and physical anguish associated with an injury.

How much you can collect in pain and suffering isn’t as simple to define because it is more subjective. That said, there are several accepted methods used to arrive at this figure in a personal injury case.

The Multiplier Method

Even though it’s generally considered inadequate, the “multiplier method” is the simplest way to come up with a figure for pain and suffering damages. In short, a jury or a claims representative will take the total amount of your medical expenses related to the accident and then multiply that figure by a factor — usually a factor between 3 and 7, depending on the severity of your injury. The more severe the injuries, the higher the multiplier.

For example: you were in a somewhat severe crash that required several surgeries to your leg, and your total medical expenses were $60,000. By using a multiplier of five, the pain and suffering, in this case, would be equal to $300,000.

Severity of Damages

Unfortunately, the multiplier method doesn’t always make sense. In the same scenario as above, you might have had $60,000 worth of medical care but you will continue to have additional physical pain and limitations that make many life activities difficult if not impossible. A higher figure might be justified.

In another example, you might have just $5,000 in medical expenses that leave you with scarring. Using, the multiplier method (a factor of 3), this would give you $15,000 in pain and suffering. This might be fair if the scar is not normally visible —  on your leg or back, for instance. But, what the accident has left your face scarred? In that case, living with permanent facial disfigurement should translate to a pain and suffering sum significantly higher than $15,000 .

Get an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

Getting pain and suffering added to a settlement or judgment isn’t automatic. When you plan to include pain and suffering in your claim, you’ll have to present proof through documentation and argue your case. Without experienced legal representation in your corner, this can be an uphill battle.

A qualified personal injury attorney will help you construct the most effective narrative, with evidence, that proves your case for these damages. At AB Law, we will also act as your legal advocate in all dealings with the insurance company and any providers until your case is resolved through a full and fair settlement or judgment.

Washington places some limits on these cases, and time is of the essence. You have just three years from the date of injury to file a personal injury claim. There are also certain caps on pain and suffering damages, which your attorney can explain further.

Let us help take this burden off of your shoulders so that you can concentrate on getting well after a car accident. Contact us today for a free consultation with one of our experienced Washington State personal injury attorneys.

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