Compensation for Pain & Suffering After Car Accident
A car accident resulting in injuries in Pennsylvania often leaves victims facing both economic and non-economic losses. The economic losses in a car accident claim include the victim’s pecuniary or out-of-pocket losses, including their medical expenses, wage losses, property losses, and others. Non-economic losses are also known as pain and suffering damages and include compensation for the more intangible losses an accident victim might suffer. Calculating pain and suffering damages is more difficult than calculating economic losses. There might be a couple of different methods the insurance company and your Philadelphia car accident lawyer might use to calculate non-economic losses, including the multiplier method or the per diem method.
What Are Pain and Suffering Damages?
Pain and suffering damages are compensatory awards for the emotional and physical trauma you might suffer because of your injuries and accident. For example, if you suffered an injury that prevents you from enjoying the activities you did in the past, leaves you with scars, or otherwise affects your ability to enjoy life, those are types of pain and suffering for which you might recover compensation.
Seeking Compensation for Pain and Suffering
To seek compensation for pain and suffering, you can file an insurance claim or a civil lawsuit. Pennsylvania is a no-fault state for auto accidents, meaning that you will file a claim with your insurance company under your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. If you have limited tort PIP coverage, pain and suffering damages will not be covered by your policy. In that case, you will need to pursue pain and suffering damages, loss of your earning capacity, and any medical expenses you have that exceed your PIP coverage limits by filing a claim against the other motorist.
You will have to send a demand letter to the other motorist’s insurance company to ask for damages and provide information that supports your demand. This means you will need to include evidence that supports your case, including the following:
- Bills from the hospital, ambulance company, and doctors’ offices where you received treatment
- Bills from a counselor or therapist
- Medical records
- Wage records showing time lost from work
- Photographs of your injuries
- Information about how you have been affected by your injuries
- Receipts for your out-of-pocket expenses
- Statements from others who know you that explain how your injuries have impacted your daily life
Your car accident attorney in Philadelphia at Raynes & Lawn will then begin negotiations with the insurance company to try to secure a settlement. Typically, the insurance company and the victim will likely be far apart in how they value the pain and suffering damages. Your lawyer will continue negotiating to try to secure a reasonable settlement. If the insurance company refuses to settle fairly, your attorney might then file a lawsuit on your behalf.
Your lawsuit will be against the driver who caused your crash, but their insurance company will be responsible for paying the damages to you. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the litigation process and preserve your rights. Even if you file a lawsuit, your claim will likely still be resolved in a settlement before it reaches trial. However, your attorney will prepare your case as if it is going to trial so that you will be prepared if a trial is necessary.
Calculation of Pain and Suffering Damages
Both your Philadelphia car accident lawyer and the insurance company will analyze multiple factors to determine the value of your claim, including your pain and suffering damages. The value of your pain and suffering damages is generally based on your medical expenses and the severity of your injuries. Seeking immediate medical attention for your injuries after your accident is critical for both your ability to recover and the value of your claim. Here is a brief overview of the two primary methods used to calculate pain and suffering damages in a car accident case.
Determining how much your pain and suffering from a car accident might be worth can be difficult. Many insurance companies use a method to calculate the value of pain and suffering damages using a multiplier. Under this method, the company might add up your out-of-pocket losses, including your medical expenses and income losses, and multiply them by a value ranging from one to five. The multiplier used will depend on the severity of your injuries and the likelihood that you will recover. For example, if you suffered a permanent disability with severe disfigurements, such as the loss of a limb or extensive burn scarring, the multiplier chosen might be closer to five to determine the value of your pain and suffering. If you suffered a minor injury from which you can completely recover after a couple of months, however, the multiplier might be closer to one.
Per Diem Method
Some insurance companies use a per diem method to calculate pain and suffering damages, but it is not as common as the multiplier method. Under this method, a dollar amount is chosen for each day of damages and then multiplied by the number of days you were affected by your injuries.
Statute of Limitations
If you want to recover compensation for your losses, including your pain and suffering damages, you must file a lawsuit within the limitations period. In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is found in 42 Pa.C.S. § 5524 and establishes a deadline of two years to file a lawsuit after your car accident. If you don’t file a lawsuit within this time, you will be barred from pursuing court action to recover the compensation you deserve. It is usually best to contact a lawyer right after your car accident instead of waiting, however. If you wait, critical evidence that supports your claim could be lost.
Talk to Raynes & Lawn
If you were injured in a car crash that was caused by someone else, you have the right to pursue a claim for your losses. The Philadelphia Injury lawyers at Raynes & Lawn can help to evaluate your claim and the value of your potential pain and suffering damages. Call us today for a free consultation at 1-800-535-1797.
For the general public: This Blog/Website is made available by the law firm publisher, Raynes & Lawn, for educational purposes. It provides general information and a general understanding of the law but does not provide specific legal advice. By using this site, commenting on posts, or sending inquiries through the site or contact email, you confirm that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the Blog/Website publisher. The Blog/Website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.
For attorneys: This Blog/Website is informational in nature and is not a substitute for legal research or a consultation on specific matters pertaining to your clients. Due to the dynamic nature of legal doctrines, what might be accurate one day may be inaccurate the next. As such, the contents of this blog must not be relied upon as a basis for arguments to a court or for your advice to clients without, again, further research or a consultation with our professionals.