When you are injured in a motorcycle accident, there are typically two types of damages you may face: special damages like medical costs and lost wages and general damages (or non-economic damages) like pain and suffering. Unlike special damages like that can be demonstrated with a clear dollar amount, pain and suffering is calculated differently in a motorcycle accident case.
There isn’t one set formula for calculating pain and suffering damages. If you have these damages, you’ll want to work with a motorcycle accident lawyer who can help you estimate how much they are worth. Then, you’ll know what to seek as a settlement in your motorcycle accident claim.
To get help with your case as soon as possible, call John Foy & Associates for a FREE consultation. We’ll discuss the details of your accident and how we can help—at no risk. To schedule your free consultation now, call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online.
What Pain and Suffering Means in a Motorcycle Accident
“Pain and suffering” is the legal term for ways your injuries have impacted your life. It’s meant to account for physical pain as well as mental and emotional suffering. To be able to claim pain and suffering damages, you must have suffered a physical injury from the accident that your pain and suffering results from.
Examples of pain and suffering damages might include:
- Physical pain
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Fear or worry
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish
Most motorcycle accident cases have the potential to recover some damages for pain and suffering. Since there is no set dollar amount for things like worry or insomnia, you and your lawyer will need to try and calculate what these damages are worth.
A personal injury claim is meant to “make you whole again” as much as possible, and money is the only way the legal system knows to make up for your suffering. While money can’t erase what’s happened as a result of the accident, we find that it does help our clients cover their expenses and begin to move on.
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Two Methods for Calculating Pain and Suffering in a Motorcycle Accident Case
So, how do you go about actually calculating what your pain and suffering damages are worth? It’s not easy, which is why it’s best to work with a lawyer who can help you figure their value.
Your lawyer will need to think a little bit like an insurance adjuster when considering your pain and suffering. Although there are two common methods lawyers might use for calculating these types of damages, the insurance company might use their own method. Your lawyer will need to consider both common methods and also keep in mind that the insurance company might try to fight the number they calculate.
The two methods are:
- The “multiplier” method and
- The “per diem” method
The Multiplier Method for Pain and Suffering
Through this method, your special damages are totaled and multiplied by a number that’s usually somewhere between 1.5 and five. This number is typically higher or lower based on the severity of your injuries. The number that you’d get by multiplying would be the value of pain and suffering damages.
For example, if your motorcycle accident left you with $10,000 in special damages and your injuries were assigned a multiplier of three, multiplying the special damages by three would total $30,000 in pain and suffering.
The Per Diem Method for Pain and Suffering
The second method, the per diem option, assigns a certain amount of money to each day between the day of the motorcycle accident and the day you reach maximum medical recovery. The severity of the injuries would help determine what the daily per diem should be.
It’s important to note that insurance companies usually use a computer program to calculate pain and suffering damages for a motorcycle accident victim. The program might factor in your injuries plus the type of treatment you received. Insurance companies do not have to follow one of the two methods mentioned above to calculate pain and suffering damages.
Insurance companies will also look at details of your treatment like how long you received it and what type of doctor you saw. If they feel like your treatment details don’t match up with your injuries, they will try to reduce what they have to pay you as compensation. This is why it’s so important to have a motorcycle accident lawyer’s help early on in the process.
How to Prove Pain and Suffering After a Motorcycle Accident
If you did not cause your motorcycle accident, you have a right to seek compensation for your damages (Georgia Code § 51-1-6). However, to actually be able to recover for pain and suffering, you’ll need to prove these damages as best you can. The more evidence you can provide to support your claim, the better.
You can prove damages like your medical costs and lost wages with documentation like medical bills and pay stubs—but that’s not the case with pain and suffering. You and your lawyer will need to compile evidence of how the accident has impacted you. Examples of helpful evidence might be:
- Personal journals or notes expressing how you were feeling physically and emotionally after the accident
- Proof of mental health treatment for mental health issues like depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) you experienced because of your accident and injuries
- Documentation from family members or friends about how your injuries have affected your daily life
Your motorcycle accident lawyer will know the best types of information to compile to support your claim for pain and suffering damages. They will also calculate how much they’re worth so that you know the value of your claim as you deal with the insurance company.
Talk to a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer for Free Today
Pain and suffering damages are not easy to calculate or prove, but an experienced lawyer can help you every step of the way. At John Foy & Associates, that’s what we’re here for. We can help you build a strong claim after your motorcycle accident and seek the compensation you deserve—starting with a FREE consultation.
To schedule your FREE, no-risk consultation today, call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online.