Placing a monetary value on physical and emotional harms can be a very challenging assessment. In determining pain and suffering compensation, however, that is precisely what is done.
Special Damages can be Calculated
When you are in a car accident, for example, the insurance company wants you to sign a written document which releases—giving up or waiving—any and all claims against the person that caused your damages and injuries. To get that release, the insurance adjuster must pay money to you.
As a personal injury victim, the at-fault party may have to pay your special damages. This category of damages, which includes actual financial losses from the time of the accident injury into the future—perhaps your lifetime depending on the nature of the injuries—includes medical bills, wage loss, cost of medical treatment in the future, lost earnings and ability to earn in the future, cost of outside household help, and so on.
These types of damages have a monetary value, or dollar figure, which is capable of calculation. There may be a contest over these numbers, what is necessary, what is reasonable, and the future values associated with them. This can be a source of significant debate, but ultimately, there is a hard number which is associated with the figures. There are receipts, reasonable estimates of future medical needs and costs, wage or salary information and adjustments in the cost of living, and a number connected to each element.
Don’t be Trapped into Just Multiplying Medical Bills
Several years ago, and some still cling to this method today so beware, many personal injury attorneys and insurance companies got into the habit of using one component of special damages—medical expenses—as the way to calculate pain and suffering. Multiplying the medical by three was the most common rule of thumb. It was a bad idea then and is a poor method now.
Simply multiplying your medical bills will not yield an accurate number. You could have a serious personal injury which resulted in medical bills of $10,000, yet the pain and suffering and future needs far exceeding simple multiplication. For example, a five year old girl who suffers a cut on her face, leaving a scar on her forehead. The actual medical bills for the stitches and bandage would be minimal. The scarring, of course, which has changed her appearance, should be considered having a much higher compensation value. This is just an example of how poorly the simple valuation of multiplying medical bills can end in an unjust result.
Pain and Suffering Damages are More Complex
Calculating general damages, which are comprised of pain, discomfort, loss of enjoyment of life’s pleasures, and suffering you have endured from the time of the personal injury and into the future, do not have such a measure. Perhaps using the term “calculating” is a misnomer. Measuring the amount of money damages which adequately and fairly compensate—make up for—pain and suffering cannot be done with a simple math equation.
How much are your broken bones worth? What is the money value of paralysis? What amount of money appropriately compensates the brain damage victim? Every type of injury goes through its own assessment.
- Spine injury
- Traumatic brain injury
- Muscle damage
- Herniated disc
- Third degree burn
The type of personal injury and the amount of money which is deemed full and fair compensation can depend on who is asked to provide a value. An insurance adjuster is trained to low ball the amount of money damages, often using a computer program to generate a dollar amount. Needless to say, insurance company valuations are universally low and often repugnant.
Part of the assessment must include how the particular personal injury has affected the victim. What is the client’s story? What challenges or obstacles—unique to that individual and family—now exist because of the harms and losses? What are the person’s limitations or restrictions now and into the future? Do these injuries mean that worsening conditions lie ahead for the victim? What did the victim used to do which can longer be done, or done with restriction, or performed with pain?
There are countless factors. Extracting the most compensation value, however, comes from knowing the client and his or her story, journey, hopes, dreams, challenges, and needs.
A jury has discretion to make a finding for the amount of pain and suffering compensation after hearing and weighing all the evidence. In the absence of a trial, like during settlement negotiations, pain and suffering compensation requires an agreement between the sufferer and the insurance company.
Asking for the Right Amount of Money Damages Pain and Suffering Compensation
Taking into account all of your harms and losses, knowing which elements are the most critical and least important, and understanding which factors to emphasize and which are the least convincing, can put you on the road to receiving full and fair money damages compensation for your pain and suffering.
If you are trying to resolve your serious claim on your own, then you may encounter serious buyer’s remorse down the road. Insurance companies do not explain the process, and with limited exceptions, they do not have to explain all the consequences. The insurance carrier wants a release—your signed waiver—giving up all your claims in exchange for a check. Unfortunately, you may be signing away money damages you could have claimed to make up for your losses.
You are the innocent victim. You did not ask for nor deserve being hurt so badly by careless acts or wrongdoing. Your life may have been changed so dramatically and you are now weak—understandably, your will to fight is gone—that you are willing to accept an inferior settlement just to close the episode.
Your relief that the claim is over will likely be temporary. As you face more hurdles—including those which you did not anticipate—you may soon realize the big mistake you made, which only hurts more.
Pursuing Compensation for Your Pain and Suffering
You do not have to fight alone. Fort Myers personal injury attorney David Harris looks at all your circumstances through the lens of experience. Driven for maximum compensation and determined to achieve justice for clients, David seeks the best result for each client.
What amount of money is the best compensation for your personal injury? David looks at all the factors involved, weighs them, and with your active involvement, works to recover compensation taking into account your particular circumstances, your story, your injuries and conditions, your financial losses, your harms, and your and future needs. Together, we challenge low ball settlement offers and work for full and fair compensation under the law.
Every time, for every client, David ethically and promptly pursues justice for you seeking the best outcome. Call David for a free and personal discussion of your personal injury situation at 888-294-8090.