How much your pain and suffering is worth in a car accident primarily depends on the severity of the injuries you suffered and whether your injuries will diminish your quality of life in the future.
Tennessee caps the amount of pain and suffering, and other non-economic damages you can receive in a personal injury case, at $750,000. There are exceptions that award up to $1 million in non-economic damages to accident victims who suffered a catastrophic injury.
Pain and Suffering, a “Non-Economic” Damage
Pain and suffering is called “non-economic” because it is the physical and emotional loss you suffer. It is difficult to assign a dollar figure for how much pain and suffering is worth in a car accident because pain is subjective. However, there are ways to calculate pain and suffering.
Pain and suffering involves a variety of physical, emotional, and mental injuries. These injuries can include:
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Besides non-economic damages, you may also have economic damages. It is easier to calculate economic damages because you can assign a dollar amount to them, and you can collect receipts. Economic damages include your medical bills, lost wages, and car repairs.
Calculating Pain and Suffering
There are different methods used to calculate pain and suffering. Sometimes calculations are made by totaling economic damages and using a multiplier, which is typically a number between 1.5 and five. The number selected depends on the severity of a person’s injury. The more severe the injury, the more likely the multiplier will be closer to five.
Besides the multiplier method, some auto insurance companies use a software program to calculate pain and suffering.
Estimating your pain and suffering is tricky because of the various factors that go into calculating non-economic damages. It may help to talk to a car accident lawyer well-versed in estimating pain and suffering.
An attorney may also be able to help you increase the value of your claim after discussing the other types of damages you sustained from your car accident.
Increasing the Value of Pain and Suffering in a Claim
One way of increasing the value of your claim is collecting evidence that proves the severity of your injury. For instance, you may provide documentation such as:
- Your medical records that show the nature and severity of your injury
- The type of treatment you receive now and expect to receive in the future for your injury
- A statement from a mental health professional about depression or other mental health issues you are experiencing because of the accident
- Statements from your family members and friends about how your quality of life has been affected since your car accident
- The amount of wages you lost and will lose in the future
Proof in a Pain and Suffering Claim
To strengthen your pain and suffering claim, you may also provide evidence that shows fault for your car accident. You can obtain information that shows how the other driver’s negligence caused the accident. Your information may include:
- A police report
- Photographs of the accident scene
- Eyewitness statements
- Traffic or surveillance video footage of the accident
Without proof that the other driver caused the accident, an auto insurer may deny your claim or reduce your settlement amount.
How an Insurance Company May Reduce Your Settlement Amount
Insurance companies — including your own — like to save money. Saving money means reducing or denying claims. Insurance companies investigate auto accidents before deciding to settle a claim. An insurer may decide that you were partially at fault for causing the accident.
Without evidence to show that you were not negligent, an insurer can reduce your settlement amount based on your percentage of fault under comparative negligence.
For example, if you had $60,000 in damages, but the insurer claims you were 20 percent at fault for the crash, your settlement amount would be reduced to $48,000.
We Can Help You With Your Pain and Suffering Claim
At the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, our lawyers have years of experience filing and negotiating claims with insurance companies for fair settlements on behalf of injury accident victims. We work on contingency which means that you do not pay us unless we win compensation in your case.
If you want to file a claim to pursue compensation for pain and suffering and other damages from a car accident, call us now at 865-546-1111 for a free no-obligation consultation.