Calculating Car Accident Pain and Suffering Damages

Car accidents are stressful and may result in different forms of unnecessary pain and suffering.  Depending on your situation, the pain and suffering that you deal with varies, but commonly include financial burdens, negative physical and mental effects, and more.

There is good news in this situation, though.  Some forms of pain and suffering qualify for financial reimbursement, but it is important to understand how to calculate damages.

What Pain and Suffering Damages are Common in Phoenix, Arizona?

Formally known as “non-economic” or “general” damages, pain and suffering doesn’t hold a designated measurable dollar value. It is unlike “special” or “economic” damages, for example hospital bills and vehicle repair estimates, which are easily calculated. 

It is important to understand the difference between general and special damages because the process for claiming each type is different.  Claiming special damages is as easy as submitting your receipts. The dollar value is specific and concrete, so there is not much to contest.  

General damages, however, are far more challenging to claim as the amount is not easy to calculate.  General damages are different for each person.  General damages are difficult to estimate because they are based in part on the length of the pain and suffering and how long the pain will continue into the future.  Personal factors, like socioeconomics, often affect the mental health factors within these cases.

The more factors you consider in a pain and suffering claim, the more difficult the damages are to calculate  Because pain and suffering damages are subjective, the jury has a lot of discretion when awarding a number.  

The complexities involved when making a pain and suffering claim is where having a lawyer brings significant benefits to claimants. A lawyer’s knowledge and experience is essential in how best to present your claim.  

How to Calculate Pain and Suffering Damages

Two criteria play a critical role in calculating pain and suffering damages—the jurisdiction where your accident occurred, and the details of the accident and injuries. You have no control over where the accident took place but do have control in gathering evidence of the severity of the accident and physical and emotional damages.  

Use as much detail as possible and create a narrative of the accident.  Your personal account of the accident plays a crucial role in how the accident occurred and how the accident injured you.  

Each person experiences pain in a unique way, so keeping track of how your pain is affecting your life and body will be helpful to your legal team. Other factors used to determine the amount that you can claim in damages are:

  • Type of injury
  • Injury recovery time
  • Scarring or Disfigurement
  • Location of scarring or disfigurement
  • Long-term effects of injury
  • Amount of special damages
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Political factors

Some states will look at how much you’ve claimed in special damages, but in Arizona, there is no cap on how much you can claim.

Benefits of a Legal Team to Handle Pain and Suffering Damages Claims

Pain and suffering damages vary in personal effect, which makes it an exceedingly difficult aspect to estimate.  An experienced legal team is the best hope for saving yourself the stress of figuring it out on your own. Attorneys have the skill and experience to use time tested methods to maximize your recovery and get you the compensation you deserve.  

One method is the multiplier, that takes your special damages and multiplies it by a number that represents your level of pain and suffering. It calculates the total damages for your claim.  Insurance companies use a variation of the same method. 

A lawyer’s presence alone can have a positive effect on your situation. It takes on a lot of the legwork involved with building a pain and suffering damages claim. The familiarity with the local justice system and insurance companies also empower them to build a strong case.  Because your lawyer is there to represent your interests, they will provide a realistic idea of what to expect from the process and settlement and guide you toward a successful outcome.

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