There’s a fair amount of subjectivity in the process of determining the value of pain and suffering in dollars and cents. The best way to seek fair non-economic compensation is to work with an experienced attorney who can put a dollar amount on your pain and suffering and present medical evidence to support that evaluation. It’s very important to get it right because compensation for pain and suffering could make up the largest part of your settlement.
Factors That Determine the Value of Pain and Suffering
The value of a victim’s physical pain and emotional suffering must be determined according to the facts of that victim’s specific case. Two different victims who suffer similar injuries in similar car wrecks could be entitled to different amounts of pain and suffering compensation. Several factors affect the amount of compensation each victim deserves:
- The specific injuries sustained, as well as their severity and recovery time
- The physical pain and emotional anguish the victim has already suffered and is likely to suffer in the future
- The impact of injuries on the plaintiff’s physical and mental health
- The duration of the plaintiff’s pain and suffering
- The loss of consortium, loss of enjoyment of daily life, inconvenience, and any other such losses the plaintiff has already suffered and/or is likely to suffer in the future
- The degree of embarrassment or humiliation a victim is likely to suffer if the wreck has resulted in scarring, disfigurement, or physical/mental impairment
A jury generally awards greater compensation when an attorney provides evidence of a plaintiff’s present and future impairment, which can be expressed in somewhat concrete terms. If, for example, the plaintiff is unable to drive or walk unassisted for some projected period of time, jury members can quantify and monetize such impairment by imagining how these limitations would hinder them and affect their own lives.
The Insurance Company’s Point of View
While a judge or jury in a civil trial can award pain and suffering damages, most car accident cases begin with a damage claim filed by the plaintiff against the defendant’s insurance company. Your lawyer can demand a fair amount and negotiate with the insurer for a reasonable settlement. If the insurer will not offer a fair award, your attorney can file a personal injury suit and fight in court to get you adequate compensation.
A vehicle insurance company generally uses a computer program to determine what it should offer in pain and suffering compensation for an accident resulting in certain types of injury, so the insurer is likely to counter your lawyer’s demand with a lower offer generated by the computer. At that point, negotiations begin. How much you ultimately receive depends on what the insurer thinks your lawyer can get if your case results in a trial, which would be costly for the insurance company and time-consuming for its attorneys.
How a Lawyer Can Help
While you’re focused on your recovery from injuries suffered in the crash, your attorney can:
- Consult with your doctors to organize your medical evidence and present it convincingly in insurance claim negotiations or at trial
- Call in expert witnesses to testify as to the type, degree, and duration of your pain and suffering
- Make sure there’s an itemized list of all factors relevant to your pain and suffering on the verdict sheet that jurors must fill out in a civil trial if your case goes to court
- Call you and your family members to testify in court about the impact of your pain and suffering on your daily life
- Determine what the defendant’s insurance coverage limits are
- Find alternate sources of compensation or file a third-party suit, if appropriate
- Be aware of Maryland’s current cap on pain and suffering damages ($905,000 in 2022)
If You’re Injured in a Vehicle Accident in Frederick, MD
You have nothing to lose and potentially much to gain by consulting an experienced car accident attorney who can evaluate your pain and suffering to seek fair compensation for your damages. Please contact us online, or call us at 301-790-3600 to schedule a free consultation. You pay no attorney fees unless we win your case.