While it is challenging to put a dollar amount on this intangible loss, your car accident lawyer can calculate pain and suffering using two approaches—the multiplier method or the per diem method. “Pain and suffering” can be hard to define, no matter how often it comes up in talks about the compensation an accident victim can pursue.
Approach Number 1: Multiplier Method
Of the two methods, the multiplier method is the most common one that a car accident lawyer can use to calculate pain and suffering. A car accident lawyer can review the expenses from your car accident, tally up the amount to get a figure and multiply that figure by a number between 1.5 and 5. This number is called the “multiplier,” which can change depending on the seriousness of the accident. A multiplier can go higher than 5 if a person experiences severe, life-altering consequences from their injuries.
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Approach Number 2: Per Diem Method
A car accident lawyer could also use the per diem method to come up with a number for their client’s pain and suffering. “Per diem,” which is Latin for “per day,” calculates and attaches a certain dollar amount for each day a person experiences pain from their accident.
For example, if a person has been recovering at home or in the hospital for two months (60 days) and a $200 amount has been assigned to each day they were in the hospital, then they could seek to recover $12,000 for their pain and suffering.
Because pain and suffering is hard to nail down, you may want to work with a car accident lawyer who can help you calculate these losses accurately.
Pain and Suffering Defined
Pain and suffering looks different from accident to accident and victim to victim. For car accident victims, counting pain and suffering among their losses may include but is not limited to the following:
- Physical suffering. The physical discomfort they feel in their bodies as they recover from their injuries can range from bruises and scratches to severe injuries affecting any part of the body.
- Emotional suffering. Serious car accidents can bring major life changes that accident victims must manage, which could lead to a change in their mental state. Mental anguish or emotional distress could make them anxious or depressed. Having an accident can also bring on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as Healthline notes. Mental pain from an accident can also mean recovering individuals may need therapy or medications.
Proving Pain and Suffering
If a judge or jury has to weigh your pain and suffering losses, those losses will need to be documented in some way. Your lawyer can tell you how to present this in your case.
There are several ways to prove how your life has changed since your accident. You could produce documentation that shows:
- Medical expenses for any emergency care and ongoing treatments you required
- Your medical records before and after the accident
- The medical expenses you incurred, including those for medications and medical supplies
- Proof of lost or reduced income if you had to take time away from work because of accident recovery
- Statements from doctors or other experts describing how your life was affected long-term by the injuries you suffered
- Photos or videos of your injuries
You can keep a journal to record notes of your daily routine after the accident and use those entries to show what your recovery and life have been like since your accident. These records could add weight to your pain and suffering claim.
A Lawyer Can Help You Hold the Other Driver Accountable
If you want to take legal action to hold the driver accountable for your pain and suffering and mental anguish, both past and present, a lawyer can tell you more about how to take steps to seek a financial recovery.
A car accident lawyer can help you gather evidence of the hardships of your accident. They can also reach out to your doctor or other medical professionals who have treated you to support your claim. A lawyer could also consult other expert witnesses to get a professional opinion to support your claim as well.
Most states limit the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit for personal injury cases. For instance, you generally have two years to pursue compensation in a personal injury case in Nevada, as outlined in NRS §11.190(4)(e).
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Call Bernstein & Poisson Today for Help
A car accident lawyer can use several methods to calculate pain and suffering, and Bernstein & Poisson understand how to go about this complex step in a personal injury case. While pain and suffering can be challenging to prove, we can review your car accident and see how we can help you. Call (702) 633-3333 today for a free consultation with a team member.