There is no such thing as an average settlement for pain and suffering in a car accident. Each case depends significantly on its own merits. In addition, the value of pain and suffering and other intangible losses can be hard to determine. It is generally based on the claim’s economic value, including medical bills and lost wages.
Partnering with a personal injury law firm is one of the best ways to ensure you seek a fair and just settlement based on your costs and losses. The firm will determine your case’s value and file a claim to recover compensation on your behalf.
Understanding Pain and Suffering Damages After a Car Crash
The term “pain and suffering” is often used as a catch-all phrase to refer to the intangible losses a victim suffered in an injury case, such as a car accident. It includes:
- Physical pain
- Emotional distress
- Psychological trauma
- Disability and disfigurement
- Reduced quality of life
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Loss of consortium and companionship
- Other forms of distress
All of these are non-economic (intangible) losses. Unlike medical expenses, lost wages, and other economic costs, pain and suffering losses are abstract. There is no standard dollar value assigned to them. This makes determining their value much more challenging.
Factors that could play a role in how much pain and suffering damages are worth in your case include:
- The cause of your accident
- The type and severity of your injuries
- How your injuries affected your work
- If your relationships suffered because of your injuries
- How long you will live with the lasting effects of your injuries
- Any applicable state laws
In general, those with more severe injuries and permanent disabilities will recover more money damages for their pain and suffering. In many cases, the value of the non-economic damages may be determined using a multiplier and the documented economic damages.
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State Law Can Also Affect Non-Economic Damages
Some states have created laws that cap non-economic damages. Many of these apply only in certain types of personal injury cases, often medical malpractice, but others can affect any injury case.
These caps effectively limit how much the injured party can recover even if they suffered devastating, life-altering injuries. Some have exceptions for catastrophic injuries, but others do not.
For example, Mississippi law currently caps damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish, and emotional distress at $1 million under Miss. Code Ann. § 11-1-60. Even if you suffered life-changing injuries and required costly ongoing care and support in Mississippi, you might receive only $1 million in pain and suffering damages because of this law.
How do I Know How Much My Case Is Worth with Pain and Suffering Losses?
Knowing how to determine your settlement value in a case with pain and suffering damages is not easy. In general, your fair settlement value will equal the sum of:
- Your current medical bills
- Future care costs
- Lost wages
- Future lost income
- Car repairs and other recoverable damages
- Pain and suffering damages
However, you will need to have a value for your intangible losses to calculate this total. Even attorneys, insurers, and courts do not always agree on how to do this.
Insurance companies often use computer programs to come up with a total. These programs determine a low-ball settlement range based on the injuries the claimant suffered and the medical details of their case. This total is generally very different from the value a car accident lawyer would calculate for the same case.
The best way to get a good idea of the potential value of your case is to work with a personal injury law firm that handles car crash claims. It will assign a value to your case and help you pursue damages based on it.
How Else Will an Attorney Help Me with My Car Accident Claim?
A car accident lawyer will identify as many expenses and losses as possible when building a case against the at-fault driver. They want to maximize your economic damages, which will, in turn, increase the value of your non-economic damages in most cases.
A law firm will also handle your claim from beginning to end and file a lawsuit as needed. This allows you to focus on healing and getting your life back to normal—or as normal as possible.
The deadline to sue could vary depending on your state. Most cases settle without suing, but if your attorney needs to, they must meet local timelines. For example, Louisiana provides one year under La. Civ. Code Art. 3492. Victims in Mississippi have three years to sue under Miss. Code Ann. § 15-1-49.
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The Morris Bart law firm offers free consultations to accident victims in the areas we serve. We want to discuss your case with you and explain how we can help you recover economic and non-economic damages. Call (800) 537-8185 to get started.
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