How Do California Lawyers Calculate Pain and Suffering?
If you’ve suffered a serious injury, you likely have to deal with more than medical bills.
You also suffer from lost wages, psychological scars, and so much more. While nothing can make that pain go away, you might be eligible for compensation for your pain and suffering.
First, though, you need to know the answer to, “How do insurance companies determine pain and suffering?”
Pain and Suffering 101: What Is Pain and Suffering?
Before answering the question, “How do lawyers calculate pain and suffering?” it’s important to understand what pain and suffering is, so you can determine if you have a case. Pain and suffering is categorized in two different ways.
First, there is physical pain and suffering. This refers to the actual pain you experience due to your injuries. This includes the effects that the pain could have in the future.
Then, there is mental pain and suffering. People who suffer debilitating injuries often feel emotional distress and anguish and might lose the ability to enjoy life.
How Do Insurance Companies Determine Pain and Suffering?
Insurance companies and attorneys have a little leeway when it comes to determining pain and suffering, but most calculate it in one of two ways. They use the:
Daily Rate Method
Let’s take a closer look at these, so you’ll know the answer to the question, “How do lawyers calculate pain and suffering?”
The Multiplier Method
First, there’s the multiplier method. Attorneys and insurance companies add the lost wages and medical bills together and then multiply it by a number to determine the amount of pain and suffering that should be awarded.
In the past, lost wages and medical bills were typically multiplied by three, but now, the method is a little more complicated.
Insurance companies were concerned that people were getting too much in compensation for pain and suffering, so instead of multiplying the medical bills and lost wages by three, the companies use software to determine the seriousness of the injury. Then, they determine the multiplier based on that information.
If you’re in a minor car accident, the program might choose a multiplier of 1 or 2. If you’re in a more serious accident and the driver was drunk, your multiplier could be 3 or 4.
When asking, “How does insurance companies calculate pain and suffering?” it’s important to understand that this new way of calculating monetary awards can actually cause claims to become undervalued. Fortunately, personal injury attorneys can fight to help their clients receive higher multipliers and more compensation.
How Do Insurance Companies Calculate Pain and Suffering? The Daily Rate Method
The daily rate method is the other way insurance companies and personal injury attorneys calculate pain and suffering. This method calculates pain and suffering based on the amount of time you actually suffer from the injury.
Let’s say that you are in a terrible car accident and you miss two months of work. You take pain medication, see a doctor on a regular basis, and miss out on your favorite activities.
It’s like your life is put on hold during that two-month period.
At the end of the two months, you feel much better. You go back to work, stop taking the medication, and enjoy your favorite activities once again.
Your life is back on track, and you don’t expect to have any issues in the future.
Because you’re doing so much better, your insurance company and attorney might choose to calculate your pain and suffering using the daily rate method. You’ll be compensated for the time you suffered from your injury, but you won’t be compensated for any future issues.
The insurance company and attorney will come up with the daily rate you should be awarded. It needs to be reasonable and based on some sort of loss you’ve experienced.
The easiest way to do this is to determine how much you earn per day and then multiply that by the number of days that you were impacted by the injury. For instance, two months is 60 days. If you earn $200 a day, you could ask for $12,000 in pain and suffering using this method.
Negligence: Another Factor in Determining Pain and Suffering
When asking, “How do lawyers calculate pain and suffering?” you also must consider possible negligence. If you were negligent in any way, that will reduce the amount of pain and suffering you’re awarded. Insurance companies and lawyers take that into account when determining the award.
How Do Insurance Companies Calculate Pain and Suffering? Is There a Cap?
You also have to consider the cap on pain and suffering damages before going to court.
If you file your personal injury claim in the United States, you likely won’t have to worry about a cap since few states limit pain and suffering damages. For instance, California does not cap pain and suffering damages, with a few exceptions that include medical malpractice, victims injured while committing or fleeing a felony, drivers convicted of a DUI, uninsured vehicle owners, and uninsured drivers.
Proving Pain and Suffering: A Necessary Step for Collecting Damages
When asking, “How do lawyers calculate pain and suffering?” you are ignoring a major point. You have to prove your pain and suffering, or the calculations won’t matter.
You can prove pain and suffering with:
Personal Notes and Journals
Statements from Friends and Family
Proof of Treatment from a Counselor or Psychiatrist
The more documentation you have, the easier it will be to prove your case. That means it’ll be easier to collect a check.
How Much Should You Get?
Don’t leave it up to the insurance companies or courts to calculate pain and suffering. Let an Upland personal injury attorney help you get the damages you deserve. Contact Montgomery Steel to get a free evaluation. With our help, you can get the compensation you deserve. Then, you can start getting your life back on track.