If you have been injured in a wreck that was caused by another driver's negligence, your life likely feels out of control right now. Car wrecks are traumatizing events, and if the wreck is serious, the effects can be life-changing. Did you know that you may be eligible for compensation from these effects? Most of these damages are well understood, but some are not. Normally, when it comes to accident damages, you are referring to:
- Medical expenses
- Car replacement or repair
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
Pain and suffering damage is the least understood, so read on to learn more.
What is meant by pain and suffering?
The reason most people are mystified by this category of compensation is due to the dilemma of having to put a price on something that cannot be valued. Many people mistakenly believe that this type of compensation is meant to cover the level of pain that the car wreck caused, but that is only partially correct. For the purposes of insurance compensation, pain and suffering is broken down into dollar and cents, and you, as the victim, have a large part to play in ensuring that your compensation amount is fair.
How is pain and suffering calculated?
When you understand how the dollar figure for pain and suffering is arrived at, you will also understand how important it is that you keep accurate records of your medical expenses. While the exact methods can vary from carrier to carrier, the method explained here is used by many and will give you an idea of what you can expect to be offered from settlement.
The dollar amount is only the beginning of the calculation, but the higher the amount, the larger your settlement. Make no mistake here; your medical bills are likely already being paid by the at-fault driver's insurance company, but the amount paid is the staring point for the calculation, even though you did not actually have to pay for your medical expenses out of your own pocket.
The severity of your injuries is the next factor in the pain and suffering calculation. If you had a long hospitalization, surgeries, extensive injuries, and permanent disablement, you can expect your severity to be assigned a higher number. The severity is assigned a number (usually between 1.5 and 5), which is used as a multiplier. You may have already figured out that the figure is also your pain and suffering figure.
When you add your medical expenses, lost wages, property loss, car loss or repair, future medical estimates, and future lost income together, this figure gets multiplied by the severity number (sometimes called "specials").
Why do I need to understand how this works?
You may be wondering why you need to know how the insurance figures out how much to offer you in a settlement, particularly given the somewhat complicated calculations shown above. It's important that you know what to expect from a fair settlement offer, and knowing how these figures are arrived at can give you a boost in knowledge that could prove to be valuable when it comes time to negotiate a settlement.
This calculation example is meant to give you a general idea about getting compensated for your accident, so consult with your personal injury attorney to find out about other factors, such as how much fault you may share with the other driver, your age and education level, and more.