How Much Should I Ask For Pain And Suffering From A Car Accident?

Updated October, 2020
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Pain and suffering is hard to quantify. That's why most insurers use either the multiplier or per diem method to calculate pain and suffering costs. The amount of money that could ultimately be compensated ranges from a few thousand dollars upwards into the millions.

Most common types of accident-related injuries

Car accidents range from minor to extreme. Injuries exist everywhere on that spectrum. Here are some of the most common injuries you may have to contend with following an accident.

  1. Whiplash and neck injuries - Due to the sudden jerking motion resulting from a rear-end collision, you may suffer from whiplash. Ligaments, muscles, and even spinal discs can sustain damage, limiting your range of motion.
  1. Broken bones - A hard enough impact can break bones in your arms, legs, and chest. In the event bones are displaced, it could pose a further threat to internal organs.
  1. Brain injuries - Concussions are mild brain injuries that usually take several weeks to recover from. More serious injuries could affect a person for life.

What constitutes "pain and suffering?"

When looking at how much compensation a person should receive after a car accident, numerous factors come into play. Medical bills and the cost to replace the car are fairly easy to determine.

However, pain and suffering is more obtuse. It's harder to quantify because it accounts for physical, emotional, and mental distress.

For example, a severe injury may prevent a person from continuing his or her favorite hobby. There's no monetary value associated with the hobby, but the person's quality of life decreases.

Most insurers take into account your injuries, your medical bills, and lost wages when trying to come out with a pain and suffering amount.

Calculating pain and suffering: 2 common methods

A significant injury to the brain, neck, or back could affect a person for years. That's why most insurers use one of two approaches to figure out how much to award someone for the time being.

Multiplier Method

With the multiplier method, an insurer adds up all of the economic damages and applies a multiplier between 1.5 and 5. Where you fall on the scale depends on the severity of your injuries.

Your medical expenses and lost wages may total $10,000. You weren't injured too badly, so the insurer adds a multiplier of 1.5. Therefore, your payout would be $15,000.

However, if you were injured fairly severely, the insurer might multiply by a 5, bringing the payout to $50,000.

Per Diem Method

With the per diem method, the insurer looks at what you typically make in a day at your job. They then multiply it by how many days you suffered from pain related to the accident.

Take someone who makes $75,000 annually. The per diem rate would be $300 (assuming 250 work days a year). If that person suffered for 3 weeks and needed time off work the entire time, then the payout would be $6,300.

Will I get the full amount I calculated?

You may do some calculations and come up with a number you think is fair. The insurance company comes back with a different, lower number. This is fairly common, and there are reasons why it occurs.

  • Insurance company believes injuries aren't as severe
  • You're still able to work, albeit perhaps in a different capacity
  • You calculated using one method while the insurance company used another

What factors determine an increase in compensation?

Certain conditions necessitate greater treatment. You may not even be able to work again. Some medical conditions that result in an increase in compensation include:

  • Paralysis
  • Permanent or significant scarring or disfigurement
  • Permanent or significant loss of a certain bodily function

Does my insurance cover pain and suffering claims?

Most auto insurance policies provide coverage for pain and suffering. This is usually labeled as "bodily injury liability." In addition to pain and suffering, this coverage also applies to lost wages and medical bills.

That's why it's critical to have a good insurance policy that protects you against anything. Whether you're out of work for a week or a year, you want to protect yourself and your family.

Is my insurance good enough to protect me in an accident?

If you're not sure, consider comparing different insurance providers to your own to find out who's able to provide you with the level of protection you need. Don't get caught on unprepared in the life-altering car accident.

Try our easy insurance comparing tool and receive quotes, instantly!

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