Pain and Suffering After an Accident: What’s the Value?

Miley Legal Group

Pain and suffering is any way that your life has been affected as a result of the accident that you were involved in.  There are generally two types, those that are physical in nature and those that are mental in nature.  Both types of pain and suffering can be serious and will lead to additional burdens on not only the victim of the accident, but also their friends and family.

Pain and suffering that is physical in nature results from specific injuries to the victim.  It can be obvious, such as a broken bone or a bruise on their chest.  They can also be a little less obvious, such as traumatic brain damages, those injuries that are internal.

Mental Pain and Suffering After an Injury

Mental pain and suffering is looked at as more of a secondary injury, or something that is caused indirectly by the accident itself or a physical injury.  These include things like mental anguish, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life and other negative emotions that result from enduring the accident and the physical aftermath.

What is Pain and Suffering Worth?

Under most circumstances, the value of pain and suffering cannot be easily determined.  Some lawyers will look to a multiplier and try to calculate based on some arbitrary formula.  These formulas are only very rough estimates and do not provide an accurate picture in many cases.   Other factors that should be looked at beside the cost of medical services include:

  1. Is the pain and suffering well documented and accepted by doctors?
  2. Does the type of accident support the pain and suffering that may have occurred.
  3. Has the victim followed medical instructions and recommendations?
  4. Is there another potential cause for the pain and suffering?
  5. How has the injuries affected the victims daily life.

Since some of these factors can be seen as arbitrary as well, you need someone with experience to ensure that you are adequately compensated for the pain and suffering you receive.  DO NOT assume the insurance company is going to provide you with a fair offer.

Insurance Companies and Pain and Suffering

Most insurance companies will rely on their adjusters and past experiences when dealing with pain and suffering.  Some companies even have a program that will “shoot out” a number that the insurance company thinks is the value of your claim.  In order to combat their position, you will need to be able to provide hard evidence of the pain and suffering.  This is normally done through medical records, documentation of work changes, documented changes in lifestyle and through other methods.

Emotional pain and suffering is more difficult to prove than when caused by physical injuries.  A number of ways that will affect monetary awards for emotional pain and suffering may include the intensity of the mental anguish, the duration and generally what is the underlying cause.  Most of this will be reflected in medical records, however most insurance companies will have adjusters reviewing records and looking for ways to deny this type of claim.

Further Questions on Pain and Suffering?

If you have additional questions about pain and suffering after an accident, feel free to contact our office.  We will be glad to answer any of your questions and get you the information you need to make the best decisions for your claim.