If you have been in an accident, you are probably running from doctor’s appointment to doctor’s appointment and trying to delegate your work at your office to your coworkers. You know the amount of money you have spent on medical bills and your coworkers have probably told you how much they enjoy doing your work for you and how many hours you have missed. Things like medical bills and time off work are easy to calculate, but how do you calculate pain and suffering? Believe it or not, insurance companies have a couple of formulas for calculating just how much your pain and suffering is worth in car accident claim.
Definition of Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering is the legal term for the physical and emotional reaction to an accident. It can cover everything from bodily or emotional scarring to aches and pains that are both permanent and temporary. There are a couple of different methods that an insurance company may use to calculate the emotional pain and suffering of an accident victim.
The Multiplier Method
Many insurance companies use “The multiplier method” to calculate pain and suffering and come up with a settlement offer for their clients. This method involves adding up all the medical bills and actual damages (A.K.A special damages) and multiplying them by anywhere from 1.5 to 5. The amount of the multiplier depends on the severity of the injuries. They determine the severity of your injuries by looking at the amount of time you have had to take off of work, your amount of recovery time and how obvious it was that the other driver was at fault. They then add to the calculation any amount of time you have missed from work due to the accident. Your settlement offer will be the total of this calculation.
Let’s say that your medical bills added up to $800 and the severity of your accident was moderate. The insurance company may take that $800 and multiply it by 5 for a total of $4000. Then let’s say you make $30 an hour and you missed 40 hours of work. You would be owed $1200 for salary. The insurance company would offer you an initial settlement amount of $5200.
The Per Diem Method
Per Diem is Latin for “per day,” and this method of calculating pain and suffering pays you for each day that you have had to endure the results of your accident. It can be difficult to attach a dollar amount to your pain, but one method of doing it is to charge the insurance company whatever amount of money it is you would normally make in a day. Hence, if your medical bills were $800 and you made $30 an hour and you missed 40 hours of work, you would be offered a settlement of $2000 ($800 bills + $1200 salary).
You never really know which method of calculation an insurance company is going to use, and they are not likely to volunteer that information. You want to find a good personal injury lawyer to negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf and get you the best settlement possible.
How do you Describe Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering aren’t easily quantified, but anyone who’s been injured in an accident knows how substantial they can be. Insurers will often attempt to elicit a description of the type of pain and its severity. Be certain to not only describe the location and type of pain but also details like whether it’s constant or intermittent, dull or sharp, and whether certain actions exacerbate it. Furthermore, it’s appropriate to discuss how the pain affects your day-to-day activities, your ability to work, and any way that the pain adversely impacts interactions with family and friends. Your emotional state is relevant. Document and report periods of depression or anxiety as a result of your injury.
1800-Injured can help you find a doctor and a lawyer in a personal injury case. We have attorneys from your area in our database. A simple visit to our website or a call to 1800-Injured can put you in touch with personal injury specialists in your area.