The amount you should ask for pain and suffering will depend on how severe your car accident was and what kind of injuries you have suffered. In general, you should always talk to a lawyer and get a professional opinion on what level of pain and suffering damages to ask for. However, there are some shortcuts you can use to get an idea of what to expect.
Who is eligible for pain and suffering in a car accident claim?
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 I 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.
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.
A good lawyer can make a dramatic difference in how much money you recover for pain and suffering. And this money matters—it’s how you rebuild your life after a particularly devastating car accident. In many cases, pain and suffering is the majority of the money you get, and it can go over $1 million. Don’t allow yourself to be shortchanged.
If you’ve been injured, we can help you. The attorneys of 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 and get your FREE consultation today.