How a lawyer calculates pain and suffering damages may depend on a number of factors. In general, putting a value on this type of intangible loss will rely on gathering evidence of your economic losses and taking additional steps to determine what a fair settlement might look like in your case.
Some car accident victims may try to negotiate an insurance settlement on their own with the at-fault driver’s auto insurance carrier, but pain and suffering damages and other non-economic losses make it very difficult to determine if a settlement offer is fair or not. Because personal injury attorneys deal with similar cases regularly, they can usually help accident victims understand an accurate range for a just settlement agreement—and may be able to negotiate a settlement on their behalf.
Ways To Calculate Non-Economic Damages in a Car Accident Case
Before you can attempt to negotiate a fair settlement with the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company, you must understand how much your case may be worth. This process requires knowing your current and possible future economic expenses and losses. Then, you or your attorney must estimate the value of your pain and suffering damages.
This estimate requires using your best judgment since pain and suffering are intangible losses. Your attorney deals with this for almost every client they serve, so their judgment is likely better than yours on this topic.
Insurance companies likely use one of several methods to calculate the possible value of non-economic losses in a case to determine their offer to the accident victim. Your attorney can then use the range of fair settlement values they calculated to counter their offer.
One of the most common methods to calculate pain and suffering damages is to take some or all of the economic damages and multiply them by a number between one to five. This multiplier depends on the severity of the victim’s injuries and the time they spent recovering. The worse their injuries, the higher the multiplier.
Calculations Based on Days Injured
In some cases, the insurance company may make an offer based on the number of days it took before your injuries healed. This calculation may be used if they do not believe your pain and suffering losses are worth as much as your economic losses.
For example, if you missed a week at work and had limited activities for two additional weeks, you might be offered a payout based on the value they assigned to each day, say $100, and the 21 days until you made a full recovery.
Calculations Considering Several Factors
Insurance companies may use calculators or formulas that take into account a number of factors when assigning a value to non-economic losses. These formulas, of course, are most likely designed to benefit the insurer and not the victim.
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Economic Damages Often Play a Key Role in Calculating Pain and Suffering
How a lawyer calculates pain and suffering will likely depend on the economic losses you experienced. Your attorney may choose the option that offers you the best payout. They may also try to determine which formula the insurance company will likely use and use that formula to derive at a value as the bottom range for negotiations.
No matter the formula used, it is vital that your attorney is able to document your economic damages before they consider your non-economic losses. The expenses related to your treatment or lost income from time missed at work may play a role in proving the value of your non-economic losses.
Proof of your damages may include:
- Medical bills
- Your relevant medical records
- Receipts from related out-of-pocket expenses
- Proof of your missed wages
- Expert witness statements about your prognosis and future medical needs
- Other documentation of expenses or losses
Your attorney may also ask you to document the time you spent recovering. This record could include the time you spent in therapy, how your injuries affected your everyday life, and the level of pain you experienced during your recovery. Keeping a journal, having loved ones give statements on your behalf, and reviewing your medical records may all be a part of proving your pain and suffering damages, especially if your case goes to trial.
Focus on Your Healing While an Attorney Handles Your Case
One of the biggest advantages of having a car accident attorney handling your Atlanta collision case is that you can focus on your physical and emotional recovery while they worry about your legal case. It can greatly reduce your stress when you allow your lawyer to determine the value of your case and seek damages on your behalf, so you can focus on your treatment and healing.
Your attorney may be able to recover a payout that includes both economic and non-economic damages on your behalf, based on the evidence they collect to prove negligence, liability, and losses in your case. In addition, if you lost a loved one in an Atlanta accident, qualifying family members may be eligible for wrongful death damages under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) § 51-4-2.
We encourage you to reach out to our team for a free review of your Georgia traffic accident case today. If you have a case against the at-fault driver, we can likely pursue an insurance claim on your behalf. If the insurer refuses a fair agreement based on the value of your case, O.C.G.A § 9-3-33 gives us two years from the accident date to file paperwork to take your case to court.
Speak to a Member of Our Car Accident Team for Free
At Bader Scott Injury Lawyers, we offer free case evaluations for car accident victims in the greater Atlanta area. We also represent clients on a contingency basis. You will pay nothing out of your pocket for our services. We get paid out of your settlement or award.
Call (404) 888-8888 today to learn more.