When it comes to a personal injury case, pain and suffering is sometimes awarded by the courts in various situations. The rules regarding calculating pain and suffering vary from state to state, and some states have no rules on how much can be awarded for this type of judgment. The insurance companies play a large role in helping to determine how much pain and suffering is to be awarded in a personal injury case, and it helps anyone involved in a personal injury case to know some of the guidelines insurance companies use to make their decision.
Defining “Pain And Suffering”
Pain and suffering is an award separate from lost wages or medical bills in a personal injury case. Some of the categories of pain and suffering include:
- Emotional damage
- Psychological damage
- Loss of services to a spouse
- Loss of income to a family if the injured was a sole provider
- Loss of quality of life
The plaintiff’s attorney will put together the claim for pain and suffering in their initial complaint, and the courts will consider the possibility of pain and suffering while ajudticating the lawsuit.
The Multiplier Method
A popular way for insurance companies to offer settlement for pain and suffering is to use a process known as the multiplier method. The insurance company will choose a multiplier from 1 to 5, based on the severity of the injuries, and multiply that number by the actual damages. For example, if the courts award lost wages and damages in the amount of $2,000 and the insurance company determines that the case is worth a multiplier of two, then the pain and suffering offer would be $4,000.
The Per Diem Method
Some insurance companies apply a monetary amount per day paid to the plaintiff from the moment the accident happens to the day the victim leaves the hospital or is formally discharged by a doctor for all of their injuries. This method as known as the per diem method, and it is not as common as the multiplier method. For example, if the insurance company determines it will pay $50 per day for pain and suffering and the plaintiff spends 30 days in treatment, then pain and suffering would be offered at $1,500.
The Reality Of Pain And Suffering Offers
The truth is that the insurance company does not have to make any offer for pain and suffering if it determines that pain and suffering is not adequate enough to compensate. All of this occurs during the negotiation phase of a personal injury lawsuit, which could go on for some time. If the insurance company refuses to consider pain and suffering, then your attorney may recommend that you take your case to civil court.
Pain and suffering in a personal injury settlement is separate from all other awards. If your attorney feels that your ordeal warrants extra compensation, then they will include pain and suffering in your personal injury lawsuit. If the insurance company does not agree with your lawyer, then you always have the option of getting the court’s opinion.