Suing for Pain and Suffering: 7 Things You Should Know
As a victim in a personal injury or car accident case, you may be worried about your well-being and financial position.
Suing for pain and suffering may help alleviate some of the financial burdens and bring a calming peace of mind.
There are a few things you should know first.
As a non-economic claim, there is no defined amount of money to be paid. Some states put a max limit on a pain and suffering suit, but the dollar amount is generally open.
Here are some things you know about physical pain and mental anguish:
- You can include any pain or discomfort from the day of the incident and into the future.
- If you’ve lost joy or pleasure in things you once treasured because of an accident or injury.
- Permanent scars and disfigurement also factor in pain and suffering.
- The loss of a loved one and their companionship.
The list is not inclusive but helps you get an idea of what is normally eligible. The loss of future job prospects and missed opportunities can also play a big factor.
2. Economic Losses
If you have non-economic losses, there’s a good chance you have economic losses that can be calculated to the dollar. Keep all paperwork that might be affected by your injury.
Economic losses might include these:
- Medical bills for clinics, therapy, and hospital stays
- Property damage
- Loss of wages and future income
- Accessories that might be needed to assist with daily living
- Any increased costs as a result of the injury or accident
If you can specifically calculate what is damaged or lost, then it is an economic loss and should be paid for by those held responsible.
3. Proving Pain and Suffering
You have to provide documentation any time pain and suffering is a factor in an injury claim. Here are some examples of things that qualify:
- Medicinal prescriptions for physical pain management or mental health well-being
- The testimony of friends and family who have watched you experience the ordeal
- Written testimony of a physician or physical therapist familiar with your physical limitations and enduring pain
- Your own testimony explaining how an injury has debilitated you as a person
Proving your pain and suffering to a jury is the difference between receiving compensation or not. Gather as much support as possible before a trial date can be set.
4. Calculating Your Compensation
It can be tricky and complicated calculating pain and suffering for compensation. There are a couple of methods that can be used as a guideline to help figure out a number.
Depending on the seriousness of injuries, a number between two and five is used to multiply the economic losses.
A great example is if you have a broken leg with medicals around $5,000, they may multiply the dollar amount by three to get $15,000. The $15,000 is added back to the original $5,000 to give you a total of $20,000 for pain and suffering.
Lawyers and insurance companies almost never agree to the initial multiplier number.
This method uses a calculator to arrive at a per diem dollar amount to be paid out to a victim until they are completely healed.
Daily amounts normally range between $50 and $150 depending on the seriousness of the injuries.
An example of how per diem works is if it takes 100 days to fully recover at $75 per day, your total for pain and suffering is $7,500.
There are other methods a lawyer or insurance company might use. You’ll need to evaluate what is appropriate for your situation.
5. Insurance Companies
When the other party is found to be at fault, insurance companies will try and offer you a low-ball settlement.
They will request all your medical paperwork and bills. Insurance companies may also try and get you to admit you’re physically fine or threaten to pull an offer off the table.
One you should know about an insurance company helping pay for pain and suffering is that they have limits. You can’t expect the at-fault’s party to pay you $500,000 if their insurance only covers $100,000.
Multiple parties responsible will have different coverages. If you’re hurt and the city, a third party, and a major corporation are all to blame, you may be entitled to multiple settlements.
6. Suing For Pain in Suffering in Small Claims Court
While settlements and civil court cases are usually how people find justice in compensation, maybe your case is going to small claims court.
In small claims court, you will not see a jury but only a single judge who will hear the case.
The outcomes of suing for pain and suffering depend on your judge’s temperament and your ability to present yourself as a reasonable and sound human being.
Many frivolous cases pass through small claims court, and if a judge thinks your pain and suffering don’t belong there they may throw out the case.
Think carefully before taking someone to small claims court. Try not to ask for your state’s maximum compensation to appear more reasonable.
7. Hiring an Attorney
Legal claims for injuries and pain and suffering must be completed in accordance with the timelines of your state’s statute of limitations.
Missing these deadlines will result in any cases afterward being thrown out even if the other party is clearly guilty.
It’s always best to let a skilled attorney who specializes in injury claims handle any possible litigation.
Representing yourself can pose lots of problems. Incorrectly filing paperwork or accidentally speaking to the wrong person may lead to a dismissal detrimental to you.
There are instances where an insurance company won’t speak to you if you represent yourself without filling out a representation form.
Ease the Pain and Suffering
If you’re a victim, you probably wish you were your former self more than anything. Suing for pain and suffering might be the closest thing you get to closure.
The hardest part of recovery might be finding the right lawyer. Don’t waste time, and contact us for all your injury claims in Albuquerque.