If this is your first time filing a personal injury claim, it may surprise you to learn that pain and suffering can account for the largest percentage of your overall compensation.
Traditionally, there are three (3) main types of compensation for victims injured by another party’s negligence:
- Reimbursement for the medical bills related to your accident.
- Payment for lost wages as a result of time off work that was excused by your doctor(s).
- Your personal pain and suffering.
(The other party’s insurance will also be responsible for your property damage, however, this is handled separately from your personal injury claim.)
The first step in determining how to calculate pain and suffering is to make sure we clearly understand its definition.
Pain & Suffering: What does it mean? What’s included?
Boulton Law Group defines pain and suffering as any physical or psychological condition that negatively interferes with your ability to complete or engage in usual, everyday tasks and routines.
Our clients have encountered a wide range of pain and suffering following their accidents/incidents, including but not limited to:
- Physical pain
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Difficulty sleeping
- Ongoing fears or phobias
- Loss of companionship
Every accident victim’s pain and suffering will differ depending on that person’s unique experiences related to the incident. Some people will bounce back with more ease, while others may have a more challenging set of obstacles.
However, no matter the type of hardship you are facing, it is imperative that you share your experiences with your doctors and attorney. This helps to ensure that you receive proper treatment for your pain and suffering and appropriate compensation from the insurance company.
How to Calculate Pain & Suffering
Insurance companies may choose to use a formula and/or algorithmic-based metric to determine your pain and suffering compensation. This formula will take into account a number of factors, including your age, injuries, prognosis, average payouts of prior pain and suffering settlements to similar victims, etc.
In some instances, the insurance company may also take the total amount of your economic damages (medical bills, lost wages, etc.) and simply multiply that by a factor of one-and-a-half or two, etc., to arrive at an offer for your pain and suffering.
By contrast, your attorney’s goal will be to make a case for the highest amount of compensation possible for your pain and suffering based on your individual story.
To help ensure your pain and suffering are properly calculated, your attorney will build a personal narrative that takes into account unique factors that the insurance company has likely glossed over.
Examples of personal circumstances that could increase a victim’s pain and suffering offer:
- A new mother’s back injury does not allow her to pick up her baby for several weeks.
- A man breaks his right hand, and because he is right-hand-dominant, this creates additional challenges for him.
- A woman’s dog bite incident has left her with a fear of all dogs.
In addition to your attorney presenting the insurance company a personally crafted demand package, objective evidence will also play a key role in helping to ensure you receive maximum pain and suffering compensation.
Evidence that can increase your pain and suffering compensation may include:
- Liability findings – Pain and suffering offers can increase or decrease based on a person’s percentage of fault for the accident.
- Objective injuries – Having records that document your injuries will support a claim for pain and suffering.
- Treatment and therapy – Medical treatment and any associated therapies are key to proving the severity of your injuries, thus helping to validate pain and suffering claims.
As you can see, proving pain and suffering is key to calculating the overall value it will have in your case.
For that reason, it is important that you understand additional ways that you and your attorney may record the personal side of your pain and suffering.
How to Document Pain & Suffering
An experienced Indianapolis personal injury attorney can help to create an accurate and professional narrative that illustrates your pain and suffering.
There are a number of ways your attorney may choose to help you document your pain and suffering, such as:
- Advising you to keep a daily journal that explains your daily challenges.
- Conducting interviews with family members and friends who can speak about how the accident has affected you.
- Filming a “day in the life” video.
- Gathering testimony from counselors or therapists.
Depending on the severity of your injuries, the ability to properly document pain and suffering will be key to convincing the insurance company and/or a jury to appropriately compensate you for your experiences.
Questions About Your Personal Injury Claim?
Whether you were involved in an auto accident, bitten by a dog, or slipped and fell in a grocery store, you likely have questions: “What should I do next?” Should I talk to the adjuster?” Should I sign that piece of paper?”
“How much are my pain and suffering worth?”
Having questions about your accident is perfectly normal. However, we recommend that you get your answers from an attorney who focuses exclusively on Indiana personal injury claims and lawsuits.
Attorney Matt Boulton has more than 20 years’ experience helping injured Hoosiers and their families navigate the claims process. His success and approach to client service have led him to be sought after by clients from every corner of the state.
Boulton Law Group offers Indiana’s accident victims a Zero Fee Guarantee. Our promise helps to ensure that everyone has equal access to award-winning legal representation.
To speak to attorney Boulton direct, call 317-350-2680. If you prefer to write to us with your story, you can use our confidential contact form. Attorney Boulton personal reviews every website contact.
Attorney Matt Boulton is an award-winning personal injury attorney with more than 20 years of experience helping seriously injured people throughout Indiana reclaim what was taken from them. His firm was created for for the client who expects exceptional service and passionate, successful legal representation.