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Car Accidents

How to Calculate Pain & Suffering After a Car Accident

Posted Feb 13, 2023 by Matt Boulton

Figuring out how much a car accident case is worth can be tricky, especially if you’re trying to settle a personal injury claim on your own.

In fact, without help from an experienced personal injury attorney, you may be unaware of the various types of compensation you qualify for under Indiana law, as well as how to calculate their value.

Depending on the circumstances of the car accident, you may request the defendant’s insurance company to compensate you for various types of damages. Often, the types of damages are placed in two categories: Economic vs. Non-Economic.

Economic damages are the objective values in a car accident personal injury claim, meaning they will often have a determined value. Common economic damages include can include medical bills, lost wages, and replacement or repair of your car.

However, your total recovery should never be limited to economic damages. Instead, the defendant’s insurance company should also compensate for your intangible, unique, or non-economic damages, often referred to as “pain and suffering.”

Since pain and suffering is a non-economic damage that involves emotional and physical pain, it can be more difficult to calculate. With this in mind, it’s also important to recognize that pain and suffering is often the most valuable part of a car accident victim’s personal injury claim.

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As such, a car accident claim that fails to maximize pain and suffering has the potential to lose tens of thousands of dollars. So how do you calculate pain and suffering? For starters, you should be aware of the types of pain and suffering a car accident victim may experience.

To better understand, attorney Matt Boulton has gathered a list of various types of pain and suffering he has recovered compensation for on behalf of his car accident clients.

Types of Car Accident Pain & Suffering

Physical pain due to bodily injury

Depending on the types of injuries a car accident victim sustains, they may experience a variety of physical symptoms. Some pain may be realized immediately following the car accident, while other pains can linger or appear days or weeks after the collision.

Additionally, the amount of time it takes a person to recover from their injuries will also be considered, as well as whether or not there are any long-term effects.

Pain is one of the most common non-economic damages car accident victims may incur, thus an experienced attorney will use their knowledge of past cases and previous insurance company settlements to help specify the case value of a person’s pain and recovery.

Emotional or psychological distress

Many of Matt’s clients experience fear or uncertainty following their car accident, which can result in a number of psychological conditions, such as:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Depression
  • Nightmares
  • Insomnia (inability to sleep)
  • Fear of being in a vehicle
  • Emotional outbursts, crying, etc.

Because emotional and psychological distress can be difficult to quantify on its own, the insurance company may require documentation from a counselor or other behavioral professional to receive maximum value for this component of the claim.

Loss of enjoyment

Depending on a car accident victim’s lifestyle pre-collision, it may be possible to include a number of “loss of enjoyment” factors in the overall calculation of pain and suffering.

Examples of loss of enjoyment for some of Matt’s past clients include things such as:

  • Unable to participate in a sport or exercise
  • Unable to pick up/hold a baby or play with children
  • Unable to complete household chores
  • Unable to participate in hobbies

Loss of enjoyment calculations will depend specifically on a person’s lifestyle as well as the ability to document their previous activities.

Inconvenience & Hassle

Insurance companies should also be required to compensate car accident victims for the disruptions caused by the collision.

Examples of this may include time without a vehicle, scheduled appointments that cause you to miss work or other activities, etc.


Grief is a type of pain and suffering that is most commonly associated with a car accident that results in loss of life.

There are a number of scenarios that may qualify “grief” as a type of for pain and suffering, such as the loss of:

  • Child
  • Parent
  • Spouse
  • Boyfriend/Girlfriend
  • Other family members, e.g., grandparent, cousin, etc.

Mat has handled a number of car accident claims throughout Indiana on behalf of families that resulted in the loss of a loved one. When considering grief as part of a client’s pain and suffering, Matt will typically present the insurance company with a detailed description of your relationship to your loved one.

Loss of companionship

Not to be confused with grief, loss of companionship is an independent pain and suffering factor that focuses on the loneliness that a person may experience following their loss.

That said, similar to grief, Matt has also helped to establish a direct connection to pain and suffering by establishing a family member or loved one’s loss of companionship due to a car accident.

Indiana Personal Injury Attorney

If you have questions about calculating the value of your pain and suffering, it may benefit you to have an experienced Indiana personal injury attorney review your case.

Attorney Matt Boulton focuses exclusively on Indiana personal injury law and is primarily dedicated to representing victims of car accidents throughout the state. His experience with these claims has helped to ensure his clients have an accurate calculation of their pain and suffering, as well as a compassionate advocate for their case.

Boulton Law Group offers all car accident victims a Zero Fee Guarantee. This means you will never pay for a case review, and you owe the firm nothing until a recovery is made on your behalf.

If you have questions about pain and suffering calculations, please let us know how we can help by using the firm’s confidential, free contact form.

Matt Boulton

Author Matt Boulton

Attorney Matt Boulton is an award-winning personal injury attorney with more than 25 years of experience helping seriously injured people throughout Indiana. He designed his firm for the client who expects exceptional service and passionate, successful legal representation.

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