How do Lawyers Calculate Pain and Suffering?

How do Lawyers Calculate Pain and Suffering?

Calculating pain and suffering is often a complex process in personal injury cases. You may deserve far more money than you think when someone else's careless actions have caused you injuries. Your personal injury damages include your actual financial losses and non-economic damages that measure your experience. Most of your non-economic damages are pain and suffering, with a wide valuation range.

To have the best chance of getting the compensation you deserve, you should hire an experienced personal injury attorney. Your lawyer will gather the evidence you need to prove that someone else was to blame for the accident and estimate the value of your claim. A lawyer will also stand up to insurance companies when they either deny your claim or try to pay you less than you deserve.

Always hire a car accident lawyer in Vero Beach immediately after suffering an injury. When your attorney is on the case early, they can be most effective. Retaining an attorney costs you nothing upfront; you only legally have to pay them if and when you win your case. Accordingly, you only risk something financially if you try to go without legal help in your personal injury case.

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Insurance Companies and Lawyers Use Different Calculations for Pain and Suffering

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There is a stark difference between how insurance companies calculate pain and suffering and how lawyers do it. Your attorney will calculate your pain and suffering damages in a way that tells your story and tries to maximize your compensation for your injuries. When insurance companies calculate your damages, they take you out of the equation to save money. In other words, your lawyer is trying to value your case subjectively, precisely what should happen in a personal injury claim. Insurance companies want to portray themselves as "objective," but they are attempting to maximize their advantage.

Pain and Suffering Should Reflect Your Own Experience

In general, pain and suffering is a subjective damage caused by personal injury. You are the one who is reporting what you are dealing with in the wake of your injuries. After all, nobody else but you is living with the aftereffects of the accident. However, you can expect that insurance companies will never take your word for anything in the personal injury claims process. They want to see everything in front of them in black and white - even the things that are impossible to show on paper. Insurance companies will routinely use this trick when it allows them to dispute and contest your claim.

However, you are the claimant. It is wrong to take you out of the picture entirely because you are the one who must be made whole financially for your injuries. You may need to fight and take on the insurance company during the claims process, so you must hire a lawyer for your case. Otherwise, the insurance company can get away with negotiating tactics to lower your compensation.

What Do My Pain and Suffering Damages Include?

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Before fully understanding how your lawyer and the insurance company calculate pain and suffering, you need to know the basis for these damages. Pain and suffering is a broad category of damages intended to compensate you for the range of effects your injuries have on you.

Clearly, pain and suffering damages include the physical pain that you endure after the accident. You will be in discomfort, regardless of whether you are actively in pain moment by moment. For example, if you suffered a broken leg in a car accident, you will feel the physical effects of the injury until you heal. Still, depending on the severity of the fracture, you may never fully recover. Then, you can receive pain and suffering damages for the foreseeable future.

In addition to physical pain, you will feel several other effects of your injuries that will fall under the broad umbrella of pain and suffering. The repercussions of your physical injuries can be numerous, and they include:

  • The loss of the enjoyment of the life that you had before your injury
  • Embarrassment and humiliation that you feel on account of your injuries
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Emotional distress that you are experiencing, including post-traumatic stress disorder

Your Attorney Can Use Experience and Experts to Calculate Your Damages

Let's begin with how your attorney will compute your pain and suffering damages. A lawyer will review your medical information and work with expert witnesses as necessary to calculate your damages. They will do this legwork at the outset of your claim. The more homework you can do, the better off you will be when it comes time to file your claim.

Pain and suffering damages reflect how your injuries have affected you and your life since the injury. These damages are backward and forward-looking, meaning you get paid for past and future pain and suffering. You may wonder how someone can look into the future and figure out what your life may look like. That is precisely why you need an experienced personal injury lawyer who knows how to estimate your damages. Otherwise, you will not get paid based on speculation regarding your personal injury settlement or award. You need something to back up what you say your damages are.

You Can Document Your Pain and Suffering Damages

The only way to honestly know how much you deserve is to grasp how your life has changed and what your daily existence has been and will continue to be like in the future. Hopefully, you have taken steps to document your daily life with an attorney's advice. You may have kept a journal of your experiences, or you have friends and family members who can testify about what they have seen since your accident. Your attorney will review your medical diagnosis and the effects your injuries have had on you to reach your number for what you expect in pain and suffering damages.

How the Insurance Company Uses the Multiplier Method

The insurance company will use entirely different methods to measure your pain and suffering damages. Suppose you have suffered permanent injuries, or it will take you a while to recover from what happened. In that case, the insurance company will use the multiplier method to calculate pain and suffering. Here, a multiplier is applied to your medical bills to reach the amount of your pain and suffering damages.

For example, if you have incurred (and are expected to incur) $50,000 in medical bills, a certain number will multiply the total. The question is how insurance companies arrive at the multiplier. Usually, they use a multiplier between one and five, depending on the severity of the injury. If you have suffered something like a soft tissue injury, the multiplier may be on the lower end of the scale. If you have suffered a brain injury or a spinal cord injury, the multiplier can be up to five.

The Multiplier Method Usually Underestimates Your Pain and Suffering

Insurance companies' calculations are never in your favor. They will almost always try to understate the severity of your injuries to avoid paying you. In the insurance company's view, you always have a chance at recovery and are much better off physically than your medical records may indicate.

The multiplier method also ignores your own experience. The use of this method assumes that every accident victim is the same and they respond to their injuries in a similar fashion. For instance, you may be more prone to anxiety and depression when you are going through difficult periods. In a personal injury case, the rule is to "take your victim as you find them." It does not matter whether you have a pre-existing condition or are more likely to develop complications; the responsible party must compensate you. Further, the insurance company rarely selects a multiplier that accurately reflects your injuries.

How and When the Insurance Company Uses the Per Diem Method

If you have suffered a temporary injury from which you will recover shortly, insurance companies may use the per diem method. Here, they will assign a dollar value to each day you deal with your injury until you recover. To reach this calculation, they will multiply the per diem number by the days you were dealing with physical injuries. Again, there needs to be more justification for the number the insurance company selects.

The Insurance Company Does Not Unilaterally Determine Your Settlement

Insurance companies do not have the power of a dictator when responding to your claim. Their role is to represent the responsible party in the process, and they will defend their policyholder from your legal action. Insurance companies negotiate with you until you both agree to settle your claim. However, they may make several unfair settlement offers to avoid paying you the total amount you deserve, but their calculations are far from the final word in your case.

You Can Always Litigate Your Case in Court

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If your attorney believes the insurance company has not made a reasonable offer, you can reject it. You do not have to take an offer that pays you less than you deserve. In the end, the choice is yours. You can counteroffer with a settlement proposal and continue negotiating with the insurance company until you reach an agreement. A settlement negotiation is a two-way street; both parties have positions and goals for an agreement. Insurance companies will need to raise their offer to have a better chance of settling the case. Settlement is often in their best interest because they do not want to incur the expense and take the risk of litigating your case.

If you do not reach a settlement agreement, your attorney can always litigate your case until the end. The jury will decide how much your pain and suffering and overall case are worth. Of course, you must prove that the defendant was liable before the jury considers your damages. If you cannot meet your burden of proof in court, you might not get compensation, so you are taking a risk. But it might be worth it; weigh the option with your attorney.

Why You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer

Without an experienced attorney representing you, knowing how much you are due in pain and suffering damages is impossible because this concept is not one that the average person understands. You may not even know that you deserve these damages in the first place, so you may be grateful for whatever dollars the insurance company tries to throw your way. A lawyer knows how much your pain and suffering damages are worth based on their experience and possible work with expert witnesses. Even better, it does not cost you any money out of your own pocket to get the legal help you need.

It Costs You Nothing Out of Pocket to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer

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When you are dealing with the physical and emotional toll of an accident or injury, the last thing you want to worry about is how you will afford legal representation. Fortunately, hiring a lawyer won't cost you anything out of pocket when it comes to personal injury cases.

Personal injury attorneys typically work on a contingency fee basis, which means that their fees are conditional on the outcome of your case. This arrangement allows you to pursue legal action without the financial burden of paying for a lawyer upfront.

Under a contingency fee agreement, your attorney will only receive payment if they secure a settlement or verdict in your favor. If they do not successfully obtain compensation for you, you will not be responsible for paying any legal fees.

By working on a contingency fee basis, attorneys are motivated to work diligently on your behalf. Their payment is directly tied to the outcome of your case, ensuring that they will be fully committed to achieving the best possible outcome for you.

Remember, it's crucial to have an experienced Vero Beach personal injury attorney by your side who understands the complexities of calculating pain and suffering. They will fight to ensure you get payment for the physical and emotional difficulties you have endured. Don't bear the burden alone - reach out to a lawyer who can help you navigate the complex process and fight for the compensation you deserve.

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