The amount you should ask for pain and suffering depends on how severe your car accident was and the injuries you suffered. In general, you should always talk to a car accident lawyer for a professional opinion on what damages you should be asking for. A lawyer will be able to compare your case to similar cases they’ve handled in the past, which will give them a good idea of the kinds of damages you could win and what you should include in your demand.
Who is eligible for pain and suffering after a car accident?
Pain and suffering is a catch-all term. Legally, it’s known as general damages. Your general damages are the non-financial losses you suffered—anything from emotional anguish to physical pain. Permanent injuries, disabilities, and an inability to work are all losses that count under this category.
Basically: if you have losses that go beyond your medical bills and lost work time, you are probably eligible for pain and suffering.
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How much money should you ask for pain and suffering?
Because pain and suffering is not based on actual financial costs, it’s hard to quantify an exact amount to pay. But insurance companies have come up with a formula to try to do so.
The pain and suffering formula insurance companies use
There are three parts to this formula:
- They start with the amount you’re already owed. That means adding up all your medical costs, car repairs, and other hard costs. This is the easy part of the equation.
- Then they try to “rate” the severity of your situation. If this sounds hard, it is. And it’s very subjective. But there is some logic to it. For example, living with pain for several months is bad, but living with pain for the rest of your life is worse. And if you’re left unable to walk, that might be even worse still. Based on how severe your suffering has been, they assign a number to it between 1 and 5.
- Then the starting cause is multiplied by the rating. For example, if you had $50,000 in medical costs and other hard costs, and your suffering was rated at about a 3, then the pain and suffering damages should come to about $150,000 (3 x $50,000 = $150,000).
This system is far from perfect, but it tends to work: people who have suffered more get paid a lot more money. But you still have to prove your case. Unfortunately, insurance companies are notorious for undervaluing pain and suffering damages. This is why it’s so important to have a lawyer represent you.
Do you really need to hire an attorney to help you?
It is never a bad idea to ask an attorney for help. An attorney has the experience and knowledge of the law to evaluate your damage claim and ensure you’re asking for everything to which you’re entitled. Plus, the insurance company and, if the case goes to trial, the other attorney tends to take a plaintiff more seriously if they have a lawyer standing by their side.
Contact a personal injury attorney today for help
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, we can help you. The attorneys at John Foy & Associates will give you a FREE consultation and help you determine what you deserve in pain and suffering. Don’t wait – call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right today.