People who have been injured due to the negligence of another person or business may be able to seek compensation for physical, emotional, and other financial losses.
Injury victims who have been harmed in an auto accident, for instance, may be able to seek compensation from the at-fault party's insurance company. This requires proof that the other driver can be held liable and may be done by filing a third-party claim.
An injured person might seek a personal injury settlement to help cover ambulance costs, medical bills, and money for lost wages due to being unable to work. Yet car accident victims and others who suffer personal injury can seek compensation for other ways their life may have been affected by the accident.
If you or a family member have been injured due to another person, business, or agency's carelessness, you may be able to seek compensation for pain and suffering costs.
Understanding pain and suffering costs and how they're calculated can give you a good idea of a potential dollar amount you can expect to get from a personal injury settlement.
What Counts As Pain And Suffering in a Connecticut Accident?
Pain and suffering refers to the physical pain and psychological and/or emotional distress a person may experience as a result of personal injury. This can refer to actual pain from the injury, as well as other forms of distress, such as psychological trauma, anxiety, and shame.
Unlike costs that you can assign a dollar amount, such as medical expenses or lost wages, costs related to mental health are more abstract. This can make calculating a settlement dollar amount for pain and suffering costs more tricky.
Compensation for pain and suffering is often sought in cases where a person has experienced significant distress as a result of an accident.
Types of personal injury cases that may award compensation for pain and suffering include:
- car accident
- motorcycle accident
- bicycle accident
- medical malpractice
- workplace injury
- animal bite
- dangerous drugs
Average Pain And Suffering Settlement
Our personal injury lawyers often get questions about the average dollar value of pain and suffering costs in personal injury cases. The truth is that the average value can vary depending on the circumstances of the case.
Giving an ‘average' settlement amount means understanding the type of accident you've experienced, your losses, and other factors related to your injury. The amount of compensation you can get for pain and suffering may also depend on where you live in the United States.
Some states have laws that place caps on how much money plaintiffs can receive for non-economic damages like pain and suffering. These types of damages are calculated differently than physical injuries, like whiplash or other back injuries. The term ‘damages' is a legal term that refers to injury-related losses.
Examples of economic damages, also known as general damages, include:
- ambulance costs
- medical bills
- physical rehabilitation
- counseling costs
- medical equipment
- home accommodations (e.g. for permanent injury/disability)
- lost wages
- job loss
- motor vehicle repair costs and other property damage
Examples of non-economic damages (special damages) include:
- mental anguish
- loss of consortium/companionship
- reduced quality of life
- loss of eyesight or hearing
- loss of enjoyment of life
The amount of compensation you can receive for mental pain and suffering from an injury will depend on a variety of factors.
These factors may include:
- type of accident
- type of injury
- severity of injury
- state laws
- calculating method
- impact of injury on your job, relationships, etc
- how long it takes for your injury to heal
- types of medical treatment needed
First, you may have to file an insurance claim to cover general damages. After this, you may be able to file a pain and suffering injury lawsuit.
There are generally one of two methods insurance adjusters—and your attorney—might use to calculate your estimated physical pain and mental or emotional suffering.
These primary methods used for calculating pain and suffering costs are the multiplier method and the ‘per diem' method.
The multiplier method for calculating pain and suffering has two steps. The first step is to identify the total value of the plaintiff's economic damages.
The second step involves multiplying that value by a number that best fits the circumstances of the case. This number is typically between one and five, depending on the severity of the injury.
An example of this could be someone who suffers a broken rib in a car crash. If their total economic damages for that broken rib is $5,000, that number may then be multiplied by one, two, three or more to equal their pain and suffering costs. Then that total is added back to the $5,000.
- Economic damages: $5,000
- Special (pain and suffering) damages: $10,000 ($5,000 x 2)
- Total: $15,000
The number the economic damages are multiplied by will be lower for milder injuries, such as a bruised rib. The cost for severe injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury, will likely be multiplied by a higher number.
Per Diem Method
The “per diem” method for calculating pain and suffering is less common than the multiplier method. The per diem method calculates pain and suffering costs based on the daily toll of the plaintiff's pain and suffering.
With this method, plaintiffs are assigned a certain amount of money for each day from the date of the accident to when they are expected to reach their maximum recovery.
However, insurance companies and legal professionals calculating pain and suffering costs are under no obligation to use either of these methods.
Proving Pain And Suffering in Connecticut
Understanding how pain and suffering damages are calculated will not be enough to ensure you receive a fair settlement offer.
One of the challenges of getting compensation for pain and suffering is collecting proof. An experienced Connecticut personal injury attorney can help you with this. They can work with you to gather the evidence to prove your losses and prevent an insurance company from denying your claim.
Your lawyer may request certain forms of documentation to help prove your case. These could include photos of the accident and personal communications that demonstrate your distress. Examples of this might be a personal journal or blog.
Other people close to the plaintiff, such as family and friends, may also be able to provide accounts of how the injury has affected the plaintiff's life, including their mood, job, and relationships.
Getting The Best Possible Pain And Suffering Settlement
Knowing whether you're getting a reasonable settlement offer can be difficult without the guidance of an experienced attorney.
A personal injury attorney can look over the details of your injury claim and provide you with a free consultation on outcome and potential case value. They can also fight to renegotiate any offer they believe is too low.
At James F. Aspell, P.C. , our skilled Connecticut personal injury team can help you by calculating your pain and suffering costs and gathering evidence to prove your losses.
We can also communicate with the defendant's insurance company on your behalf and fight to ensure you're paid a reasonable amount of money for your losses.