Being the victim of an accident is bad enough, but having to deal with the paperwork and negotiations afterward is a headache of itself. Whether you were recently involved in a car/motor collision, a work-related incident, or some other accident, you have to deal with the consequences.
This means healing and recovery, the unfortunate part of taking time out of your life to deal with something that wasn’t your fault. But, it also means standing up for your rights and getting the compensation you deserve.
As stressful (and traumatic) as post-accident responsibilities can be, it’s worth getting every penny out of an injury claim. To do so, you need to know how to calculate pain and suffering damages.
Here are five questions to ask yourself when doing the numbers on your own.
1. Which Calculation Method Should I Use?
Before you start crunching compensation numbers, you have to know what you’re doing. You’re entitled to more than just the sum of your hospital bills and personal belonging damages.
To find what the real value of your compensation should be, use one of the two calculations below.
The Multiplier Method
The multiplier method is kind of like a math equation you learned in school, but this time, your life is the example.
It’s done by adding the sum of your medical bills then multiplying this by a number between 1.5 and 5. The product of this is then added to all the economic losses an accident has caused for you. This includes medical bills, damages to personal property – like your car, your home, etc – and wages you weren’t able to earn due to taking time off for recovery.
When you have all the numbers in front of you, the multiplier method is actually basic math. The trickiest part is knowing which number to multiply by. You don’t get to choose between 1.5 and 5 on a whim; there’s a system to determine which number to use.
The decision is based on the extremity of your pain. The higher your pain and more serious the consequences, the larger the multiplier.
Calculating Per Diem
Another way to calculate your claim is by using the per diem method. Instead of multiplying the total of your financial losses, you add each day’s losses one by one.
This allows you to get a certain daily payment until you’ve reached full recovery. A daily payment can be determined by how much money you’d make on average if you were able to work or how much your medical assessments and treatments cost. The amount is multiplied by all the days the accident affected you – or is estimated to affect you.
2. How Serious Is/Was My Injury?
Once you’ve picked a calculation method for your damages, it’s time to take a closer look at what your damages actually are worth. Begin with the injury.
Someone who has whiplash after a car accident, for example, does not have as many medical bills as a person with a broken bone. Injuries also include any stitches you had to get, a pulled muscle, internal issues, concussions/head trauma, or paralysis.
All of these determine the multiplier you’d use for the first calculation method. If you have some combination of injuries, your multiplier will increase. If using the per diem approach, the more injuries you have, the higher the daily amount will go.
3. Do I Need Future Treatment?
Remember you are entitled to compensation not just for the pain and suffering experienced thus far, but everything you have left to go through.
You may still have a cast on your body or a need for physical therapy until you reach full recovery. In certain cases, professional emotional support to help you get over the accident applies to calculations, too.
Calculate all the funds it will take to get you to a full recovery. This means future medical appointments, the cost of prescription drugs and their refills, and the loss of wages throughout the healing process.
4. Has My Quality of Life Been Seriously or Permanently Affected?
Sometimes, the healing process doesn’t lead an accident victim to full recovery.
Such is the case if there is permanent damage done to the body, like the loss of a limb, paralysis, or changes to how the brain functions. These are just a few examples of what serious injuries look like.
It’s also worth noting when a victim’s overall quality of life takes a serious shift. Maybe being out of work for so long has made you depressed even if your body is functioning well. Maybe you lost a loved one in the accident or feel helpless with all the bills and personal property damages you’re now facing.
These matters are worth bringing up.
5. Are Punitive Damages Available?
The final thing to consider when calculating pain and suffering damages is whether or not you can claim punitive damages. Punitive damages come into play when the accident you experienced was caused willfully by another person.
You can’t just blame the at-fault party or claim they had a reason for hurting you, though. Claiming punitive damages requires proof that the other person knew what they were doing and/or targeted you. If you believe this is true, you need a team of personal injury lawyers to help you make your case.
These professionals have the knowledge and experience it takes to prove the at-fault party’s intentions. Not to mention, legal advice is an invaluable asset to have throughout the calculations and claims process.
Get the Pain and Suffering Damages You Deserve
Accidents happen in life, but they’re not situations you need to take sitting down. There are all kinds of resources available to help victims of car accidents, work injuries, and everyday issues get back on their feet.
But, it’s worth taking matters into your own hands from time to time, too. Use the pain and suffering damages calculation tips above to make sure you’re getting all the compensation you deserve.
For more accident recovery tips and tricks, click here.